A prison cell for the recently free

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College is a place to come and learn more about one’s self and how to thrive in academia from minuscule mistakes and overshot dreams. College is about venturing out to find a place in the real world and about complying with deadlines and expectations. College is about a new foundation for a new beginning with new habits. College is a door to a room shared with the brother or sister you never had, but is unfortunately controlled by hours considered to be late into the night. Freshmen attending the University of Indianapolis who expect to have friends visit past midnight can shut that dream down really quickly if they want the realistic college experience.

Although I am a sophomore this year, I can thoroughly recall feeling that freshman dorm visitation hours were petty. I remember working away my evenings in my dorm with friends around me whom I soon had to escort out of the building because if I didn’t, I would be fined. All I could think about in those moments was how financially devastating it would have been to be fined again, after being punished for secretly owning a tarantula in the dorm.

Upperclassmen residence halls such as Roberts, East, Central, Crowe and the Greyhound Village have 24/7 visitation, while freshman dorms such as Cory Bretz, Warren and Cravens only allow visitors from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sunday’s through Thursdays, but allow 24-hour visitation on Fridays and Saturdays. However there are honors freshmen in upperclassman residency halls with 24/7 visitation, while the rest of the freshmen, who are not honors, do not have that luxury.

There are a number of reasons why every freshman is so frustrated by these visitation hours. Freshmen want to be free from their parents’ curfews. As the saying goes, “You’re in college now.” College freshmen should not need to have their hands held by someone whose job is to punish 18-19- and sometimes 20-year-ol­­ds for having a friend in their room past midnight on a weekday. From previous experience, I think the sad part about this scenario is that some of those people may enjoy getting residents into trouble. Responsibility is key, but if adults are still helicoptering over young adult children, responsibility could be neglected to prove a point.

I am not an Indianapolis native. As a Columbia City college freshman, I didn’t know many people around Indianapolis, other than people I wasn’t close enough to consider friends. After a job interview, I was hired to stay in Indianapolis to work over winter break. I was immediately enthralled by how quiet and how desolate the dorms could be. The first few days were nice until Christmas. I was alone on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Oftentimes I was asked why I didn’t have anyone to celebrate the holidays with, and I had to explain that the dorms were off-limits to people on and off campus for liability issues. Although this was the case, I oftentimes snuck my boyfriend into the dorm to have someone to talk to during the cold nights in the creepy and quiet dorm. I felt so alone after he would leave, it was just so dark all the time.

From the moment I made friends with other freshmen in Central last year, I was instantly envious of their visitation hours and how unfair mine seemed in Cravens. Learning that the students who were living on the honors floors of the upperclassmen dorms immediately made me feel separated and less privileged than the rest of the freshmen. I almost felt as if I were still in high school, living in my parents’ house, without the freedom I was always told I was going to have when I left for college.

I’m glad a petition has been sent around for people on the UIndy campus to sign if they want the visitation hours to be dismantled by the Residence Hall Association. Hopefully, with enough signatures on the petition, the visitation hours for the freshmen who hate their visitation restrictions will be able to have increased freedoms by the second semester of this year. To those who want to continue to be sheltered and have their late night freedom on lock down and monitored by their peers, so be it. I’m going to fight for that to be reversed.

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