Once I started college, I could not wait to get a place of my own. It took over a year to find a place and save enough to move, but I finally did it. 

Going to the college in your hometown holds a variety of advantages, especially with the smaller size of Emporia State. 

However, the more people I met the more I realized just how much of a hassle finding a place and living on your own can be. Landlords, rent and dorm life became common themes with my friends, most of them not good. 

To attend Emporia State, if you don’t have family in town you can stay with or you’re from out of town, you are made to live in the dorms your first year. 

I suppose being closer to the school has its advantages, but I’m just a block away and pay nearly $1,000 less a year than my friends for a reasonably nice one-bedroom apartment to myself. 

Between the cost of the dorms themselves, and the meal plan, housing itself has been an obstacle in attending school to my friends, many of whom have dropped out as a result. I live in a complex with a number of students stretching the capacity of a two-bedroom apartment to make rent, some with four roommates. 

Going to school is hard enough, but for those of us who can’t live at home, finding and maintaining a place to live can be a full-time job. 

Housing, like food, water and clothing, are basic things we need to survive. The cost of living in California where I grew up was enough to force my family out of it, and even in Emporia, Kansas, I face the same problems as a student with two jobs. 

People should not be charged for things they need to survive. Things like a place to sleep are crucial to your health and safety. I’ve managed with the help of my family, but many people are not as lucky. 

Student or not, you should not be forced to pay for shelter. We settle for substandard living and abusive landlords happy that we were able to pay the rent this month. 

We deserve the right to live and not be charged for it. We deserve a place to sleep.

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