Back to the dorm

For those of us who have been to college, and lived in residence, we often have fond, nostalgic memories of dorm life.

The lack of responsibility for anything but your grades, the freedom of being a young adult without ties, the social and sexual opportunities that seemed to be everywhere, and of course, above all, the meal plan.

Oh, the meal plan. Sure, we complained about the food. Sometimes it genuinely sucked (what my school’s cafeteria called meatloaf, I called “roadkill in vomit sauce”), and sometimes, honestly, it was just fun to complain. Bellyaching about the grub is a time-honored practice, after all, and probably started back when the first army was formed and someone had to feed those ungrateful slobs.

(No wonder a lot of institutional food workers become bitter and defensive. No matter what you do, they will complain anyway. )

But when you think about it, and especially when you have experienced the Real World with all its complications and irritations, living in a dorm with a meal plan was pretty freaking sweet. Beats the hell out of bachelor (or bachelorette) living out in the rough and tumble of the real world, right?

In fact, a lot of people wish they could go back to college once they have tasted the real world. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Like these people (and puppets) here :

But you wouldn’t even have to go back to college, would you? You would just have to go back to the dorm and the meal plan and so on. You could keep your regular job, and just go home to a dorm every night, and have supper and breakfast off the meal plan, right?

I mean, why the hell not?

You don’t even need the college. This is the part that bothers me. It seems obvious to me that there would be a huge, huge market for what basically amounts to dorms without colleges. Same communal living, same opportunities, same meal plan, same everything.

But not attached to a college at all. Just a different way of living. You could even keep the option open to pay for a year at a time, if someone has the cash. Imagine, not having to worry about rent or shopping or cooking or cleaning for an entire year.

Doesn’t that sound good?

And the thing is, with economies of scale, institutional advantages, and so on, you might even be able to offer it at the same rate as a young, fresh out of college person might find themselves paying for all the same things in the real world, but without all the hassle.

And we know it is at least possible for this to be a viable business model, because it is already working on college campuses (campi?) all over the world.

From what I know, which is admittedly little, about college administration and the business side of higher education, I highly doubt that colleges and universities all over the world are taking a huge loss on providing resident services for the students, you know, just out of the goodness of their hearts, in order to minimize the financial impact on the students.

Yeah, like that ever happens.

So we know it can work. So why not make this happen?

Even if it ended up being more expensive than regular rent in the real world, it still would not be more expensive if you added in all the rest of the things, like food and cleaning, and honestly, even if it was more expensive with all that added in, I think people would be willing to pay a little more just for the convenience.

This wouldn’t be for everyone, obviously. For one thing, it would be no place to raise a family, or even cohabitate unless you like being really, really close.

But for young single people, I could see it not merely being a viable alternative, but it has the possibility of being the sort of business model that reshapes society and becomes completely part of the standard urban landscape, as much as the apartment complex, the housing subdivision, and the motel.

It could quite simple become part of the expected life-track. You grow up, go to school, go to college, then find a dorm complex that you like and live there until you are ready to make the move to a house in order to start a family.

Wouldn’t that be a better way to live than what we have now?

But after we leave university,

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