beat military barracks
Chu is a senior political science major from Arlington.
of the most common complaints by TCU students is the quality
of on-campus housing. Many point to the great number of
students who choose to live off campus. In fact, one of
my fellow columnists even wrote this week about her perception
of high prices and low residence hall quality. While I
share some of the many complaints of the TCU body about
the administration, I actually stand up for TCU on-campus
Before coming to TCU, I served for three years in the
U.S. Army and lived exclusively in military barracks.
Unlike Hollywood movies, regular personnel live two to
four per room in barracks, and giant 20-person barracks
are normally used for boot camp. I point out this fact
not as a patriotic chest thumping, but as a contrast between
TCU housing and military housing. During my time, the
U.S. Army was drastically renovating its housing, but
a significant number of soldiers still lived in older,
less hospitable barracks. Those people who complain about
TCU residence halls should try living in some of those
older military barracks.
I can still vividly remember the conditions of both the
residence hall and the military barracks. At TCU, I had
good furniture including a clean mattress; in the barracks,
the furniture and my mattress might have been older than
me. At TCU, I had free cable TV and high-speed Ethernet;
in the barracks, I had to pay out-of-pocket for both cable
TV and dial-up Internet. At TCU, the newly painted walls
and carpet were clean; in the barracks, the walls were
eventually painted over in order to cover up graffiti
from previous residents. Many military barracks have been
renovated or replaced today, but I still lived in near
dilapidated quarters during my time.
Along with differences in living conditions, the differences
in lifestyle is also significant. At TCU, residence assistants
do not care that a room is not always neat. In military
barracks, sergeants frequently inspected rooms for orderliness.
At TCU, university housekeeping clean up the common areas;
in the barracks, my enlisted peers and I were required
to do common area cleaning. At TCU, hall socials and roommate
spats are relatively tame; in the barracks, the MPs (military
police) were called a couple of times. So before you complain
about life in a college dorm, think about what life is
like in military barracks.
During my time as a TCU student, I have lived both on
and off campus. After living three years in various military
barracks, my housing grant and my time in a residence
hall was a step up, not down. TCU does charge a significant
amount for on-campus housing, but I thought it was worth
it. I am comfortable living off campus, but I would much
rather live in a TCU dorm than in military barracks not
yet renovated. While I chose to move off campus during
my junior and senior years, I look back at my old residence
hall with fondness, not bitterness.