Ever thought to yourself, “Hey, if I commute to college, I won’t be able to get involved or understand the true meaning of what it’s like to have that ‘college experience’?” Wrong. Just because you commute to school doesn’t mean that you can’t take in the benefits and enjoy college just as much as a resident.
Let’s just say for argument’s sake as well, that by commuting, that it means you’re travelling from your parents or another family member’s home.
One of the most obvious benefits of living at home during college is the issue of cost. Commuting to school does not cost nearly as much as it does to live on campus. You don’t have to pay over $12,000 for room and board, buy an insanely expensive meal plan or pay the $75 per semester fee for laundry. That’s not to mention the loans you have to take out on dorm costs alone: living on campus all four years adds up to over $48,000 alone.
As a commuter, the cost to maintain your car and buy gas to get to school five days a week is not nearly as much as a resident is paying to live on campus (it’s roughly $70 to $140 to fill up your tank every month depending on how far and how often you have to travel). You pay $95 for a full academic year parking permit that you have to pay as a resident if you want your car on campus anyway. Oh, and it’s also not necessary if you don’t have your car while living on campus to align your schedule with the shuttle schedule in order to get somewhere.
Another plus is that you don’t get stuck living with a roommate whom you may not exactly see eye-to-eye whether it’s because you were assigned a roommate or you get into some kind of tiff with your current one. Sure, not all roommates are bad and there may be no problems across your four years but sometimes you just want to have some time to yourself.
There lies the problem of having privacy as well. Living at home allows you to get away from some of the stresses you may be feeling on campus and allow you to have some time to yourself. Everything that goes on in the dorms can be distracting as well so it’s nice to have the option to leave campus and go somewhere where you know there will be some quiet.
You also don’t have to deal with those occasional troubles of losing your Internet connection when you’re right in the middle of submitting a big assignment or the always-enjoyable fire alarm going off in the middle of the night. They’re always fun to deal with, right?
Some people hold the belief that, as a commuter, the only times that you’re on campus are for classes and nothing else. Not exactly true as long as you make the effort to become involved on campus, the events and the tons of opportunities. Sure, it can be a pain sometimes having to stay on campus all day and then driving back home late at night. If you’re willing to do that though, then you should have no problem. Just because you commute does not mean in the slightest way that you can’t make friends or have a social life.
Of course, there are certain disadvantages too. Dealing with traffic and delays, driving to campus in the snow (something that has proven quite difficult this winter) and the monotonous morning and rush hour commutes. The biggest thing that you should remember being a commuter is to not use that as an excuse to hold you back from whatever you want to do while you’re in college. Don’t allow the fact that you’re a commuter make you feel like you can’t engage in the same opportunities as everyone else.
At the end of the day, the choice is up to you whether you want to live on campus or commute from home. Personal preference takes precedence but definitely weigh your options as to what may be a better fit for you with your time as a college student. Make whatever you do a worthwhile experience.