Commuter Pros and Cons

Graphic by Kelsey Neier

Written by Kaylee Gaines. Media by Kelsey Neier.


I have gotten used to answering the questions: “What’s it like being a commuter student?”, “Don’t you spend a fortune on gas?”, and “What time do you have to get up in the morning?”. My favorite response was when a friend turned to me, as I explained the drive I have every morning and afternoon, and said enthusiastically, “Oh! You’re a recruiter student!”. As a result, I have come up with quite a collection of responses, as well as a list of “Pro’s” and “Con’s” to living at home. Below are a few examples.


I live 35 minutes away from school and trust me, I’ve timed it and know at any given point just how late I will be for my first class if I don’t hurry up. As a commuter student I don’t have a dorm room to crash in during the day when I don’t have class or need to study. On the other hand, by the time I stumble into my first class of the day, I am actually awake and somewhat coherent, having been up for an hour and a half longer than most of my classmates.


I have to fill up my gas tank about once a week to make the trip back and forth, and since gas has been so pricey lately, it’s adding up. The cost difference between paying for gas and paying for a dorm room is actually quite significant (especially because I’m living at home and my parents aren’t having me pay rent). It is actually cheaper for me to drive instead of living on campus.


As a commuter student, I chose not to be on the meal plan because I am typically only on campus for one meal a day.  Instead, I pack my own lunch. Unfortunately, this means I don’t get to eat in the D.C. with my friends. However, I have found a comfortable area in Whitlock to eat and hang out with other music majors, and if it is nice out, I eat on one of the benches on Scott Field. Plus, I get to have home cooked food for dinner!


I still get to participate in many of the activities on campus, but usually only if I know about them well in advance. For example, I get to attend concerts in the Blackroom, but miss out on midnight trips to Subway. Also, if I have already left for the day, I can’t sporadically decide to go hang out at the skate park with my friends.

I could keep going, but the list would grow quite long. Living at home, while attending college, definitely has its challenges and makes some parts of my “college experience” a bit difficult, but ultimately I believe that it is giving me a unique perspective on college life that not everyone gets to witness.


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