Seniors relay experience of living in residence halls for four years

Mia Johnson and Mariya Chukas have both lived in College Avenue Hall since their freshman year and have held jobs within the Department of Residential Life.

Although the faces of the front desk attendants and floor staff at College Avenue Hall vary by semester, seniors Mia Johnson and Mariya Chukas have remained as constants for the past four years.

They are part of the small percentage of students who live in residence halls for all of their undergraduate years. Johnson and Chukas are exceptions to a nearly complete turnover in staff and residents of the hall. For them, the benefits of living on campus outweigh the costs of residence halls.

“I’m really involved on campus, and just having a lot of late meetings and stuff, I knew that being on campus would probably be the most reasonable and accessible,” Chukas said. “I knew I wouldn’t have a car at all any of these four years. It was just the most reasonable option.”

To help offset their cost of living, both Johnson and Chukas decided to work for the Department of Residential Life. Johnson was a peer adviser her sophomore and junior years, and Chukas worked as a desk supervisor.

As a PA, Johnson, a magazine journalism major, facilitated a journalism and communication Freshman Interest Group and mentored residents on her floor. PAs are compensated with a single room and a meal plan, according to the ResLife website. Johnson said that heavily influenced her decision to remain in College Avenue through her junior year. Now, both Chukas and Johnson are residents in the hall.

“It was a lot of work and it causes a lot of stress, but in a weird way it’s rewarding,” Johnson said. “I think a lot of [the reward] is just interacting with students, just being able to facilitate their transition to Mizzou, get them hooked on to journalism or maybe guide them if journalism is just not what they want to do.”

While Chukas’ job as a desk supervisor helped reduce the cost of living her sophomore year, her primary motivation for staying in the residence hall is the location.

“I did plan on living off campus this year, but because I don’t have a car my mom was like, ‘Nope, you’re staying on campus,’” Chukas said. “Some of the bus shuttles are really unreliable, and when weather changes, I don’t want to be stranded off campus or not have access to anything. So at least on campus I have class right here, dining halls, et cetera.”

Because the majority of students who live in residence halls are freshmen, Chukas serves as an informal advisor to the younger residents, who come to her to ask questions about things like restaurant recommendations and study tips.

“It’s fun to see how fresh-faced [my suitemates] are,” Chukas said. “I’m glad to be a resource to them, and that’s how I feel that I’ve gained a kind of mentor position when it comes to the underclassmen I have met. I’ve never had an issue with them. They’re all really good people.”

While their living situations differ from those of the majority of their peers, Johnson and Chukas said they don’t experience much judgement from their fellow seniors. Sometimes their classmates even react with jealousy, Johnson said.

“Some people will actually be like, ‘Oh, I miss being able to walk to class,’ or not having to wake up super early to catch the bus and risk being late for class,” Johnson said. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, I can just roll out of bed and walk to whatever class I want. I can take a nap when I want. If I lived off campus, I probably would not be able to take a nap in the middle of the day.’”

Edited by Claire Mitzel |

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