I Have A Love-Hate Relationship With Being A Commuter Student

I Have A Love-Hate Relationship With Being A Commuter Student

It was definitely easier living on campus.
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At the start of my freshman year, I lived on campus in a dorm. For sophomore year, I lived in an on-campus apartment. After two years, I realized that living on campus was way to expensive for my family and me to afford. My family made just over enough money for me to not be eligible for FAFSA, and the scholarships I received from the school did not cover even 25% of my tuition.

Per month, I was paying $900 a month and I thought that was just absolutely ridiculous. So, I made the decision to live off campus. Now, finishing up my junior year as a commuter, there are definitely things that I miss about living on campus. There are also things that I love about being a commuter. I definitely have a love-hate relationship with being one.

For those of you who may be in the same boat as I was or just want to live off campus but don't know how it will be, I have comprised a list of pros and cons about being a commuter. Hopefully, this list will ease you into a decision fit for you.

Pros:

1. It is less expensive.

I went from paying $900 a month to only having to pay $300. That $600 difference is such a huge help when it comes to paying for other things.

2. You get to be more comfortable.

No more roommates! Well, unless you want them. I live with my boyfriend and I don't really consider him to be a roommate. I don't have to worry about roommates being annoying and keeping all the lights on or slamming doors at early hours of the morning. The best part is I don't have to wait for them to get out of the bathroom.

3. It will give you a chance to explore.

When I lived on campus, the only places I traveled off campus to were Walmart and Dutch Bros Coffee. Now that I am off campus, I have actually explored the Phoenix area. I have gone to other cities, places I have never been to, and places I have never heard of. I don't think I would have explored if I still lived on campus.

4. It gives you a taste of the "real world".

You have to pay bills, rent, groceries, and gas if you have a car. You get to live on your own without being "sheltered".

See also: The College Years As Told By A Commuter Student Who Is More Involved Than The On-Campus Student

Cons:

1. It can be a struggle to make it on time to classes.

Let me tell you, I am not a morning person so it is a struggle to get to my 7 am classes on time. If I am being real with you, I live 15 minutes away from campus. Half the time I am 5 - 20 minutes late to class and the other half, I just don't show up because I can't get myself to wake up on time. I definitely miss being able to roll out of bed at 6:55 am and make it to a 7 am class.

2. You can miss out on events.

When you are on campus and the school hosts an event, you are totally up for it. You plan with your friends and you just walk across campus to the event. However, when you are off campus, it can be a little taxing to drive back to the school during 5 pm rush hour traffic to go to an event that turns out to be a little lame. When you live on campus, the event being lame is fine, but when you're off campus, it is just a waste of time.

3. You can become unmotivated.

When I am at home, it feels like it is so hard for me to focus. I have so many distractions. The television, my phone, my boyfriend, my car, my noisy upstairs neighbor. When I am at school, I feel like I focus better.

4. It can be hard to socialize.

When you are on campus and you get a text from your friend at 11 pm saying "let's hang out", it is not a problem. You just exit your dorm and meet somewhere on campus. When you are off campus and get a text at any time, the want to take a rain check is definitely there. Driving 15 minutes to campus to hang out with friends at 11 pm is more tiring than anything else; especially if you have a 7 am the next morning.

5. You have to lug all your stuff around.

If you are involved in groups on campus, you will most likely have to lug around all your stuff. For me, I work on campus and I am in the pep band, as well as a science major, so I have to lug around my work uniform, instrument and band uniform, and my lab coat and goggles. All of this along with my backpack full of school stuff. If you are not involved in anything, then this will not be a problem for you, but for those of you who are, just be careful with your back.

There are times when I do hate being a commuter, but overall, I do love it. I love being able to be on my own, and while I do miss the convenience of being on campus, being off campus is way better for me.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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10 Things That Only Happen On Small Campuses

"No, we don't have a football team"
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Don't let people give you the pitiful "ohhhh" when you reveal your enrollment at a small school. Everyone who goes to a small school can agree that it is nothing like a large, state school. I think even those state school students will confirm that. But what people don't know about a small school is that it has its perks, and they are good.

1. Leaving your room 5 minutes before class...and still being on time

2. Guaranteed to get at least one "hey" every time you walk somewhere

3. Actually knowing the people who follow you on Instagram, Facebook friends, or dare I say...Tinder

4. Making friends outside of your major is more common than not

5. You also know every single person in your major

6. Going through a super awkward and aggressive orientation program as a freshman and using that as a strong common bond with a (then) complete stranger

7. Probably finding your best friend through that previously mentioned hideously intense, ice-breaker-obessed orientation program

8. Anticipating the long* wait for food on those really good days but knowing when to go to get around it
*long is really only like 15 minutes

9. There is no cover charge at parties...yes, apparently this is a thing

10. Being invited to dinners at the president's house because you're on a first name basis (oh yeah, and Mrs. President floats around campus regularly with baked pastries and warm smiles)

So if you're looking for a tight-knit community that loves to give out hello's when they are due, or a campus where you can wake up and eat breakfast 30 minutes before class and still be on time, look into those small schools that maybe don't have a 50,000 seat stadium. What they do have are the people you will remember and that will remember you, classes that taught you beyond the test, and a uniqueness that just isn't found at a large school. At a small school you're a face, a name, your own legacy...not a number.



Cover Image Credit: Roanoke College Facebook page

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Things I Miss Now That I'm Home From College Again

There are so many reasons to be glad that the school year is over, but if you've done it right... there are a lot of reasons to miss it too.

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So, school is over now and I've come home. As expected I was so relieved at first. No more showering with flip-flops, no more listening to screaming girls running up and down the hall, and a space that is mine and mine alone. But after a week or so of being back, there are a few things I've already started to miss.

I know that not every single person has the ideal roommate but I got really lucky with mine. Coming home I was excited to have my own space, but now when I'm doing my midnight scrolling, I'm realizing that I miss being able to talk to her about the funny things I see in that very moment. Tagging, DMing, and texting her doesn't feel the same as a long night of giggles spent together.

Also, while seeing old friends when you get home is amazing, and there is always a lot to catch up on, you do start to miss your other friends too. Being in college means that your friends are going through similar things as you are all the time. You have tests together, clubs together, and sometimes you spend way too much time procrastinating together. The bond you begin to form is one you definitely begin to miss - especially when you guys don't live close off of campus.

Coming home also means you don't have a set schedule or at least not immediately. You may come back to a previous job and that puts something on your calendar, but the free time you still have during the week can be a little too much. I know I've spent way too much time obsessing over the Tati/James drama than I ever would have at school. The routine I had at school kept me busy and entertained, and I'm honestly missing it a lot right now.

There are a lot of other things to miss too - even things you thought you wouldn't. You miss the classes, the teachers, and sometimes the food. I know I miss the environment. It isn't a perfect one, but it's full of people just trying to find their way. We are all working through the roller coaster of life and we are all stuck on one beautiful campus together while we figure it all out. I miss meeting new people at the bus stops or running into old classmates and catching up.

I guess the bonus for me is that I just finished sophomore year which means I have more time to spend at school. Come senior year, I guess I'll have to learn quickly how to deal without the things I miss - and also create a schedule so I can travel to see all of my friends, but those are all problems for future me.

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