Imagine your usual ten minute walk from your residential hall to your class in Green Hall. Now imagine if your walk took at least twenty minutes, or if your walk is actually a twenty-minute car ride. It’s a reality that some students have to face every day. Because Wellesley is a small liberal arts college in the suburbs, most of its students live on campus.
Gauri Gadkari ’18 said, “I would choose to live on campus because the alternative of living off campus is not cheaper for me. And living on campus is more convenient distance wise. Personally, I feel it increases the feeling of belonging to the community when you’re living with the people.”
However, some students decide to live off-campus. Their lives may seem different — perhaps more glamorous — because they are living on their own. But their lives are similar to those of the typical Wellesley student.
Sabrina Cheng ’16 sat at a table surrounded by bookcases. Her laptop and notebooks were neatly stacked and her backpack sat in the chair next to her. She was the image of a classic college student finishing up work. An economics and psychology major, Cheng said that she wanted to do finance.
“MIT has a lot of opportunities [in the field],” she said. Cheng now lives in a condo in Cambridge that has three floors, which she shares with four other people, one recent Wellesley graduate and three others.
“The house is pretty big, and we share a kitchen and a basement,” she said. Cheng adds that her room is the same size as a double in Freeman.
For Cheng, the biggest difference between living on campus and off campus is the transportation time.
“It takes me a pretty long time compared to transportation in Wellesley, and I really need to plan my schedule ahead,” she said.
Not all people who live off campus live in Cambridge or Boston. A senior who wishes to remain anonymous picked the happy medium of living in Natick. She moved out of the Wellesley main campus after her first year in Pomeroy and has been off campus since sophomore year. Now, as a senior, she has an apartment in a Natick neighborhood. She has her own bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and living room. When asked her how she managed to find such a nice apartment, she said that she googled for affordable places to live. This senior decided to live off-campus because didn’t want to deal with dorm issues like sharing bathrooms and noise levels. When she lived in Pomeroy, she said that people would walk around so much in the middle of the night that the noise kept her up. After moving into her own place, she was able to create her own study space at home, where she could study during the weekends. The hardest part about living off campus is the traffic. Since she lives in another town, she drives to school everyday. The drive to campus is normally around 13 minutes. However, it can sometimes take 25 minutes to get to school or back. Her tip to avoid traffic? Don’t go home at around 5 or 6 p.m.
Although the French House is a Wellesley dorm like any other, it is not situated on campus. The French house lies across Washington Street in the residential areas of Wellesley. From the outside, the French house looks like a real residential house. However, once inside, it is no different than a student dorm. The house itself is split into two parts, and Emma Stelter ’16 lives in the smaller and quieter half of the house. Different French posters and drawings that she made while in high school decorate her walls. She has the classic college furniture set, and the hallways and common areas of the house are newer and cleaner versions of other Wellesley dorms. Before moving to French house, Stelter lived in Tower. One of the biggest differences she noticed after moving is the noise level.
“It’s super, super quiet,” she said while laughing, “It’s really different.” One of the main differences is the language spoken. At the French house, residents have to speak to each other in French during the weekdays. On the weekends, residents can converse in whatever language they wish. Another big difference that she had to get used to is the walk. She used to use the bike share program a lot when she first moved to the French house, but when the program closed for the winter.
“I just got used to walking around, and by the springtime, it was like whatever. I’m used to it now,” she said.
The Wellesley community isn’t created by how close students physically are to Wellesley property, but by how they contribute to the school. So, while some students don’t live on campus with the majority of the student body, they are still an integral part of the diverse Wellesley community.