Back to the Dorms?

The thought of taking out almost $200K in loans over the next four years is a bit intimidating.  To say the least.  So a few weeks ago, I e-mailed the university residence life office to inquire whether there were on-campus options for graduate students.  Indeed there are, but they are located in the “University Village” houses and it just doesn’t seem that the options offer much privacy or independent living.  I’m too old to share a bathroom with 10 people, much less 10 people who are potentially in their early ’20s (no offense to those of you in their early 20s).  So I e-mailed them again and asked about employment opportunities.

Which is how I stumbled across the position of Assistant Residence Hall Director.  Considered “senior staff”, the job is part-time and provides guidance and leadership to younger hall leaders and programming support.  It comes with a salary, furnished apartment in a residence hall, full meal plan AND … wait for it … up to 7 free tuition credits.  Holy Toledo, Batman!

So I applied for the job and made the first cut.  My phone interview was Monday and I felt pretty good about it.  The next step is on-campus interviews for finalist candidates.  I’ll know if I’m in that pool within the next few weeks.

Here’s the thing… Financially it makes sense to take the job if it’s offered to me.  For Pete’s sake, it will save me upwards of of $30,000 in loans between my salary, housing and food for the first year, not to mention that it will slice my first-year tuition in half.  But it means living among 18-22 year olds for at least my first year (granted, in my own apartment, although it may not have a full kitchen).   And sacrificing my social life to the gods of the nursing school and the residence life office.  Between the two, I won’t do anything else but sleep (and eat and work out, of course).  So is it worth it?

I’d hasten to offer a resounding “YES, you idiot!!”  But I missed a lot when I was in seminary because I was too busy making ends meet with three part-time jobs.  If I’m going into major debt anyway, when does the cost stop being measured in dollars and cents and start being measured in moments of sanity and opportunity for peer group interaction and the formation of new friendships?

That, my friends, is the question.  Answers are welcome.

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