By Delilah Goncalves
Quilted picture frames, carnival teddy bears, old birthday cards, favorite childhood movies, scented spray and old flowers from parents are among the things Jessica Ceneri, of Guilford, Connecticut brought with her to campus.
“I just lay in my bed look around and I immediately feel like I am home. I bring everything from my room at home that reminds me of my family and my wonderful childhood. It brings me back to a place of happiness when I am stressed out or sad from school,” Ceneri said.
College for many students is the beginning to living an independent lifestyle, away from parents. It is also a time for students to create a new home in the dorms.
Ninety percent of Stonehill College students live on campus. Many students, like Ceneri, want to create a home in dorms but that can come with a high price tag.
According to the National Retail Federation, students spend on average $907.22 to turn their dorm rooms into a home. The cost does not stop there. According to the National Center for Education Statistics the average cost for undergraduate tuition at a private not-for-profit institution is $37,800.
Victoria Clifford, 20, of Hurley, New York, said she worked hard to make her dorm room a home.
“The Way my room looks really makes a difference in my success on campus. It’s really a weird thing but when my room feels like home it makes me want to be here and work harder especially because I know it is so expensive,” Clifford said.
College students also look to build lasting friendships, find mentors and join clubs and organizations they are passionate about.
“Creating new friends and people to share your life with is one of the greatest gifts I have received from living on campus,” Morgan Riley, 20, of Sharon, Connecticut, said.
“They way I make campus feel like a home is by finding groups and clubs that I love and I join them. My friends and I have family dinners multiple times a week. I love this because it feels like I’m home with my family. Friends are a major part of why I feel campus is my second home,” Riley said.
Residence life officials work to set ground rules for students working towards independence.
Stonehill College Residence Life provides students with Residence Directors (RD) / Area Coordinators (AC) and Resident Assistants at their every need to help students create a home on campus. Allowing students to fen el safe and inclusive in the community is the first step in making college feel like home.
“Our job is to make sure students basic needs are met so they can succeed academically. We work to make students feel like they belong and matter. Our focus on making sure our RAs connect with each individual so they feel like they matter and to keep students physically safe and safe to be themselves,” Director of Residence Life Kristen Pierce said.
The Residence Life staff is available for students who are having trouble creating the connection between school and home. Students who are feeling home sick, stressed out, and in need of someone to talk to can turn to RDs and RAs for guidance along with other resources.
“I try to connect students who are feeling disconnected with like-minded individuals. I find what their interests and hobbies are and I try to find groups on campus that match those interest,” Residence Director Omar Rodriquez said.
Stonehill’s Ceneri said her first semester freshman year living situation was difficult and she initially did not believe Stonehill was the place she could spend her college career. Ceneri said after she connected with her RA she was able to build a meaningful connection and find that Stonehill was the place she belonged.
“Stonehill is my home,” Ceneri said.