As a freshman commuter, I was afraid that I would be missing out on the ‘college experience.’ How would I meet new people and make new friends? Ask any adult about their college experience and you will no doubt hear about road trips, midnight Dunkin’ Donuts runs (not as convenient as having a Dunkin’ in their Student Center), lifelong friendships, and some interesting roommate stories.
But how can I have these experiences as a commuter? How can I get involved with clubs and activities if they start around the time I am heading home? How will I master parking roulette, worrying about traffic patterns, and getting to class on time? These tasks are easier said than done; in order to overcome these tasks one must know three simple facts:
1) Take 8:30’s-
This is significant because finding a spot can take 10 minutes to half an hour depending on what time and what day. Fortunately, to make up for this, Monmouth University does have a valet system for commuters. Claudia Dimondo, a freshman communication and commuter student said, “Commuting has made me a better student by taking on responsibilities such as parking, tolls, and gas.”
2) You Must Leave your Comfort Zone-
Friends aren’t going to magically appear; you must get involved in activities and meet new people. I have made friends simply by being at the dining hall, through clubs and activities, and in class. These friendships can help develop one’s strengths and address
Dr. Vaughn Clay, Director of Off-Campus and Commuter Services said, “Even though time plays a large role in the lives of most commuter students, I encourage all commuters to find a way to get connected to life outside the classroom at Monmouth University.”
3) You can Still Spend Nights On-Campus-
Monmouth University allows its students to sleep over in their friends’ dorms as long as they show their school ID, so commuters are not missing out on anything. It’s nice to sleep over at the university occasionally, but it’s even better to go home to your own room. This is one of the benefits commuters have over residents, which allows them to have more room and have their own space to themselves.
A commuter has access to a nice home-cooked meal and the ability to drive to any restaurant of their choosing. There’s nothing better than coming home to a delicious meal after a long day at school.
4) Commuting Saves Money-
The greatest benefit of being a commuter is the sense of freedom and independence. Oftentimes, residents do not have a car on campus, so they ask us commuters for rides. It is unfortunate that not everyone is able to have a car on campus, but then again that’s one of the reasons why commuters are important.
An additional benefit of commuting is saving money, because living at college is expensive and not everyone wants to leave college with multiple loans.
When you are friends with a commuter, instead of taking Ubers, taxis, or Lyft rides, you can just ask them for a ride. Not only do resident friends appreciate the transportation, oftentimes residents open their dorms up to commuters to hang out, and that is how friendships begin.
Natasha Kirby, a freshman computer science student and on-campus resident said, “Having commuters on campus makes life much easier by providing us residents with friends who have transportation and who can help us escape being on campus 24/7.”
College isn’t just about getting that degree, it’s about making friends, becoming the best person that you can be, and learning from your professors, advisors, tutors, and even your peers. That’s the key to a healthy college experience.
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