Students on the pros and cons of commuting

Written By Cassandra Harris, For The Globe

Commuter students have a different college experience than residential students. They can opt for lockers or keep everything in their cars. They even explain that the amount of time they spend on campus is often limited and so are the activities they can do during the time they have there. 

There are hard parts to being a commuter but there are some things that make it worth it. Commuters speak their opinion on what they believe are the hardest parts of commuting and what they do to make their experiences more bearable. They reveal why the choice to commute was an important one.  

 Freshman graphic design major and commuter Luke Will notes that there are things he likes about commuting. 

“I like that I’m able to sleep in my own bed at night,” Will said. ”It’s nice seeing my dog after a long day of six-hour lectures. It’s cheaper and I save money.” 

He says that he spends most of his time outside of class in the lounges.

“Sometimes classes end at 1:00 so I stay [on campus] for a little bit to get some work done,” Will said. “It’s easier than going home and trying to get work done just because I’m already in that mindset.” 

Andy Hetrick is a commuter who lived on campus last year and found that it would be cheaper to live off campus this year. They even planned to buy a scooter to save money on bus fare.

“I live only five to ten minutes from campus, but still I spent a lot of money to buy a scooter so I could save a lot of money in the long run on the bus,” Hetrick said. “I mean, even if you’re paying $2.75, it’s still $6 a day and that adds up, so I bought this scooter. If it’s raining or snowing super hard, I can’t take it.”  

Hetrick also moved off campus to have more freedom in their own space. 

 “I would rather pay just as much and be able to have whoever I want over and burn candles in my room and not have somebody say anything about it,” Hetrick said. “It’s way overpriced and super expensive, if you live in the dorms even, I feel like the cheapest meal plan you can get is $1000 [as a residential student].” 

However, just because students live off campus doesn’t mean they can’t get involved on campus. Director of Student Life J. Desmond McCoy wants more commuter students to have a connection with the campus. 

“I think it’s important to get involved in clubs and activities or something else outside academic work,” McCoy said. “I think if a student has something else to do beyond just going to class and going to the dining hall, they have a bigger connection and they have a balance of decompressing and not being so stressed. Maybe if they attend an event, if they attend an activity they see on social scoop or attend something that they have interest in, I think that could potentially help.”  

Freshman Amanda Holt tried to be more involved on campus, but found difficulty with finding people to hang out with. 

“I did orientation week, but it was just boring because I don’t know that many people,” Holt said. “I commute because it’s cheaper, it’s way cheaper. I feel like I miss out on late-night activities here because I don’t want to stay for 6 hours.” 

Though being a commuter can be tough, McCoy wants to improve commuter life at the school. 

“The past eight months that I’ve been here, I’ve been trying to understand the campus culture and the way things are,” McCoy said. “I’m at a point now where I’m ready to engage commuter students but also make it convenient as well. Traditionally speaking, a commuter student might have a job or other student things; they could be traditional or nontraditional students; they have families; they have things going on; sometimes they need to come and go. With programming I want there to be some passive things where they can come and just take.”  

McCoy’s idea to get commuters more involved with the university is to take the process slow, step by step. He wants to start with small events and then eventually work his way up to connecting students with one another.

“Whether it’s something like, hey come to the commuter center and get some free hot apple cider,” McCoy said. “Versus, hey let’s do this bonding activity and let’s do pizza with the president. I want to do it in a way that’s not too invasive. I’m currently looking at things and different ways that we could potentially do things and have the greatest impact.”