By KYLE PRATT
Being a commuter student certainly has its perks. Cheaper parking permits, a comfy bed, and, of course, saving thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Even as we commuters enjoy these advantages, those of us who don’t live so close to campus have a mild jealousy toward anyone who can be home in a matter of minutes, and anyone who doesn’t have to deal with the hellish process of finding a parking spot in a word of double-parkers and intrusive snow banks
While these relatively small downfalls can cause some stress, there are other, more serious issues that commuters face that aren’t always so obvious.
First, almost all of us have to pay to get to school. Students who drive to school have no choice but to get gas. This may seem like a small price to pay to save thousands of dollars a year, but this gas money usually comes right out of our pocket and isn’t paid through a loan.
Second, our trip to class is usually significantly longer than that of a resident. A student who lives on campus could roll out of bed at 7:45 for an 8 a.m. class if they really wanted to. For those who drive in from 20-plus miles away, this isn’t possible.
An 8 a.m. class for a commuter can often mean getting out of bed at 6 a.m. or earlier, and if we have a break before our next class, we can’t run home and take a nap. Not without paying for more gas, that is.
Commuters can also find themselves facing numerous challenges en route to class. Everyone who drives to school knows that sinking feeling that hits when you run into a parking lot in the middle of the highway. We can be making great time, on track to arrive on campus well before the start of class, when we all of a sudden have to stop in our tracks. We can’t go around, as if it’s a group of people on the quad. We have to wait, and waiting means tardiness.
Many professors are forgiving, but some have very strict attendance and anti-lateness policies. Someone’s careless mistake on the road can potentially mean the difference between an A and a B, or a C and a D. It is next to impossible for a commuter to ensure perfect punctuality for a whole semester, given the multitude of variables that exist between home and school. Unless they leave extra early, which means less sleep, and often leaves them waiting around for class to start.
Commuters can even find themselves making the trek to campus just to find out their class is cancelled and that they have wasted a gallon of gas, just to waste another on the way home.
Even after all that, one of the biggest issues commuters face is not feeling like a part of the campus community. Many campus events are extremely inconvenient to attend. They can often take place hours after the last class of the day. This limits social gatherings and club participation.
Making friends is often more difficult for a commuter student, as they often only interact with fellow students in class.
Meeting with professors can also be difficult if their office hours don’t align with a commuter’s schedule, though many professors are very accommodating.
Commuting is a cost-effective option, but these added disadvantages can be stressful
Next time you see a commuter, say “Hi,” and introduce yourself. They may have had a rough day being cut off by some bigshot in a BMW, sitting in traffic, almost running out of gas, and getting a letter off their grade for being ten minutes late, but they are just as much a part of the Saint Rose community.