Katie Ribbens — Staff Writer
Dordt has always encouraged student engagement, but what happens when students are gone for the weekend? For most students, the weekend is a time to reconnect with friends and take a necessary break from schoolwork. To encourage this, Dordt often hosts events over the weekend to encourage socializing. Students who live in close proximity to their house and often drive home miss out on such opportunities.
The location of a college often plays a key role in a student’s decision to attend. For some, it’s necessary to have distance between their home and their college. For other students, a college within driving distance of their home is a must. However, the temptation arises for students who live close to go to the comfort of their homes rather than stay on campus with their friends.
For transfer student Adrianna Johnson, moving to a college close to her home in Le Mars was essential. She gets to drive home every weekend and, in turn, stays involved with her siblings’ lives.
“I go home because of my sister. She’s still in high school, so I like to see her,” Johnson said. “She’s involved in activities, and so I like to kind of see her do some of those things.”
Johnson uses the weekdays to hang out with friends and do homework so she can use the weekend to catch up with her family. She believes Friday afternoon to Sunday evening is a good length of time to be gone.
When asked if there were any drawbacks to returning home so often, Johnson said, “I do find it a little more difficult to get my homework done because I like to be doing things with my family.”
Hannah Dagel, a junior at Dordt, originally planned to move farther west from her home in Sibley, Iowa. In the end, Dordt was a better fit for her – though only 45 minutes from her house. To balance her time between campus and home, she chooses to visit every few weeks.
“I actually didn’t go home until our first break,” Dagel said. “I think it was a really good sort of transition phase for me.”
At the same time, she appreciates the opportunity to be home enough to spend time with her younger siblings and watch her 5-year-old sister grow up.
“I have all these animals too that I really miss out on seeing during the week,” Dagel said.
Tyler Smith, a freshman, purposefully chose a college that was out-of-state. Dordt is a 20-hour drive from his hometown in Caldwell, Idaho, so he only goes home during long breaks.
“I knew I wanted to be a little bit of a ways away from home, just for the experience of kind of fully being on my own,” Smith said. “I knew if I was in-state and really close to my house I’d make trips home, and I’d be off campus.”
However, students leaving campus over the weekend still affects him.
“Almost all of my friends are within driving distance of their houses,” Smith said. When they go home, Smith admits that he has less to do. Additionally, he feels that when his friends stay on campus, he is able to spend time with them and build stronger friendships.
There is a fine balance between staying on campus over the weekend and staying at home. It is important for students at Dordt to build new relationships with their fellow students, while maintaining close relations with their family. At the end of the day, there’s no perfect amount time that should be spent on campus or at home. That is up to the student.