‘Nova underground: mission Villanovan freedom

Mel Forest

What’s more entertaining than watching your grown-up friends play video games on two side-by-side TVs? Hearing their boyish excitement for H@10 40ur — that’s leet (gamer speak) for Halo 4. 

From the ages 18 to 21 very few things have remained staples in our developing lives. In fact, I can hardly believe that in such a short and blurry amount of time I went from dorm life with these goons to forking over the Washingtons for rent every month. So how did it? Why does it feel so natural? Villanova’s housing system gracefully eases us from living at home with the rents to freedom in the outside world. This ladder-type system is called Mission Villanovan Freedom. 

The first tier is dorm life. It requires no amount of responsibility except a phone call to the parental units every few months. Everyone is required to have a meal plan and the misconception of points being fake money buys everything else. With no concept of bills or appliance maintenance, many youngins overly use napkins, leave the lights on and blast the heater while the window is open, or at least step on it to climb into bed every night. They make out like bandits. 

Sophomores move to Main and are given slightly more responsibility. They pick their own roommates and then maybe some students re-pick roommates halfway through the semester when they realize living with their best friend probably wasn’t such a hot idea. They pick their own activities to join — no more CAT-sponsored luaus or required cultural events for ACS. They pick their own major, hopefully Human Services (holla!). Then they start managing their time better, learning which class they can skip and which lab partner will get them out earlier. Slowly the skills for independence take shape. 

Then ‘Nova plays a small field experiment, taking students, putting them in a seemingly realistic apartment setting, but manipulating their control by throwing in RAs, parking tags and public safety officers. Now arises their dependability on grocery shopping and chore charts. Instead of learning about the origins of baby-corn from Tumblr, students can now throw decent-sized social functions.

Senior year, I must admit, is the best living situation. Although we’re driving to school every day, paying bills and dealing with landlords, the off-campus experience is refreshing. You can get a kitten or decorate with beer bottle vases; heck, you can even draw on the walls because it is your home. I have yet to miss my cinderblock jail cell-sized room in Stanford. 

While some schools may throw their students into the real world, we are gently pushed. Nevertheless, the responsibility we take on may not always manifest itself as mental maturation. We all have our guilty pleasures: Some people will play Halo until they die, others may never stop singing the “Baby shark” chant and I’ve shamelessly opened a Twitter account (I’ll follow you if you follow me, @MellyMelMelFo). Don’t let the real world keep you from doing the fun things. For all of you who feel too old, just look down at that freshman picture of yourself on your Wildcard, and go do something irresponsible. Parents’ Weekend is over.