There are plenty of different reasons that would make a student want to commute rather than live on campus. Some student’s families live close enough to campus that they can live with their parents for free, while others prefer the freedom, independence, and privacy of having their own place. I commute for a few different reasons: I have two dogs, I play the guitar much too loudly for a dorm room, and I prefer going grocery shopping rather than being subjected to a meal plan. But for all the benefits of commuting, there certainly are a few drawbacks as well.
1) Getting involved on campus can be hard
One of the most difficult parts of being a commuter is meeting other students outside of class. Getting involved in groups and activities can be difficult for commuters. Not only is it harder for an introverted commuter to meet new friends, but with most groups having meetings in the evenings, that may mean driving home and back to campus to be involved.
2) Extra financial worries
Being a student and trying to balance one’s finances can be a challenging situation. If you’re a commuter who is lucky enough to live with their parents, please don’t let the social stereotypes get to you. Let your parents support you if they can, and focus on school work and getting involved on campus. However, if you’re like me and live in your own house/apartment, you have rent, groceries, and gas to pay for. That means working anywhere between 20-40 hours a week just to get by. Living off campus may be cheaper for some in the long run, but in the here and now, financial worries can be (and are) a major stress.
3) No naps
Most college students don’t take naps for granted. Even just one hour between classes can offer the perfect time for a much-needed power nap. However, commuters don’t have the luxury of getting to go back to their dorm to lie down between classes. Instead, we are forced to retreat to common places to work on homework or idly pass time. If you are close with a commuter, offering them a place to nap could be a godsend for your off-campus friends.
4) Having motivation to drive to class
It can be difficult for any college student to get the motivation to wake up and go to class. But considering I can walk across Capital’s campus in five minutes, I feel the excuses of dorm-dwellers are flimsy at best. Commuters, on the other hand, must not only fight through traffic, but then they struggle to find a parking spot. Not to mention that in a few months, inclement weather conditions will make it even more difficult for commuters to make it to class.
All of this is not to say that commuters live harder lives than students who live on campus, nor is it to suggest that there are no perks to living off campus. While I may lament on the struggles of commuting, there’s just something about having my own bathroom and being able to microwave popcorn without the fire department getting called that is refreshing to me.