The Voice

Commuter students living a double life

Kearstin Calhoun, Contributing Writer

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     Every college student will face many challenges when going to school like finances, living adaptations, picking a seat in class and making sure it is perfect. Commuter students face those problems as well, but the troubles don’t stop there.

    As the world continues to develop and change, so do our ways of learning. Getting a degree has become very diverse and easy for anyone if they put their mind to it. Online classes allow those that need to stay home remain there. Commuting helps those who can’t afford to live on campus still attend, the option of staying home, and maybe even getting more help throughout their college years.

     Whatever a student chooses to do, it is important for everyone to realize they’re not all the same in college. We all have very different everyday struggles. Recognizing the challenges of a commuter student can really help those who do commute feel more understood within their college community.

      Commuter students, especially incoming freshmen, almost always have a very hard time “fitting in.” Commuters often find that meeting students can be challenging because the only interaction they have is with those IN the classroom. For residential students, this is only a small part of their total college experience. Students who live on campus live, eat, study and socialize together in residence halls.

     Because the residents can do all of this together, they have many more opportunities to make friends and become socially involved in the campus community. A great amount of socialization for many college students happens in the cafeteria, through extracurricular activities, such as clubs or sports, in the student center, recreation center or during late-night study sessions. Commuter students miss out on a lot of these opportunities because of returning home after class, and while there are many benefits to being a commuter student, they always feel a step behind everyone else.

      Commuter students are almost always up an hour or two earlier than resident students. It is very common for a lot of commuter students to have a perfectly planned schedule even up to exactly when they should leave their house to ensure they will get a good parking spot and be on time to class. The parking lot is a mad house for commuter students.

    If you speak to a commuter who just got on campus from the big commuter lot, be kind to them. Their insides are slowly dying and the entire class they’re probably cursing the dreaded hill out. If you’re unfamiliar with the hill just ask a commuter student, it is easy to get a story involving the F bomb when asking this.
 A college experience is something a lot of commuters will tell you they don’t get. A lot of residential students will say, “Why would you commute? You’re not going to get the full college experience.” Everything for the commuter student involves planning. As a commuter student, you can’t just up and walk to your friend’s dorm. Even your social events are planned, which is why they’re mostly always pushed to the back of the long “to do” list.

      In reality, commuter students do indeed get a college experience, it is just different from resident students. Living at home encourages you to find your “college identity” outside of the walls of a dorm room. The commuter student is not going to encounter the stereotypical “college experience” dorm life and freedom away from your parents. But who’s to decide what the “college experience” actually means? It is important to remember that just because some students don’t live at school doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy their time at school.

     Everyone chooses what they want to do, including those who choose to travel the miles they travel to get to school. Resident students chose to live on campus. Remember that next time you work with a commuter student in a group project or any type of study that it is not as easy for them. Be patient and understand that they’ve already endured some of the many challenges they face daily. Most importantly, remember that we are all Huskies on and off campus and while some get an easier experience, we all are working towards the same goal!

Kearstin Calhoun is a Secondary Education English major and a contributing writer for The Voice.


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Commuter students living a double life