To commute or not to commute?

Commuter parking sticker for vehicle at Queens University at CharlotteJason King | The Queens Chronicle

Being a commuter means being able to relax and not worry about the scary door knock from RA’s or campus police, unless you illegally park in one of many places you are not suppose to park.

Com·mute:

“Travel some distance between one’s home and place of work on a regular basis.”

Many college students claim commuting is a drag; others say it’s the best thing ever. There are various reasons why commuting can be as good as it can be bad. Here are the pros and cons according to some Queens commuters.

PROS:

Cheaper Housing and Food

Living off campus saves you a lot of money. College is expensive and can get even more expensive when you add housing to tuition. Not only do you get to have your own bed and shower without wearing flip-flops, but you also get to go home and to cook your own meals – people usually dislike the food served in the Queens Dining Hall.

“The meal plan is a little overpriced with the quality of food you’re getting,” said Jacklyn Rock, a senior from Florida.

Space and Privacy

Being a commuter means having your own space and privacy. College dorms are usually very small, with little space to put things in and almost everything is shared with other students. However, for $10,280 you could rejoice in your very own super suite at Byrum residence hall. But for a commuter living in your own apartment or house gives you the privilege for more personal space while saving some money.

You will not cry when you see your tuition balance (no promises)

Living in the residence halls costs a lot of money, especially at a private university. Being able to save money by not living on campus helps you out a lot. Not paying to stay on campus results in less loans and debt that you will eventually have to pay. You are also free from having to bound yourself to a meal plan.

No More Worrying About Campus’ Rules

Campus Police can be strict. Being a commuter means being able to relax and not worry about the scary door knock from RA’s or campus police, unless you illegally park in one of many places you are not suppose to park.

“I do enjoy not having to obey to campus’ rules because I think that campus was very restrictive,” said Claire Hamilton, 21, a senior from West Virginia.

A lot of people decide to live off campus to get away from all the restrictions that are applied to campus residents. When you are a commuter, you feel more “free.” Except if you have angry neighbors – never fun.

You can still get involved

Most people think of commuters as the ones excluded from everyone else. That is not always true. The opportunity to have a well-rounded college experience is always present. Joining clubs and organizations is a good way to get busy on campus.

“It’s bad to be away from my teammates, I’m not able to hang out with them as much as I wish,” said Jules Athalis, 22, from France, “I still manage to get all my friends together at my house during the weekends, which is fun!”

I enjoy being able to remove myself from the drama, the typical college stuff, and having a place to go home,” said Rachel Kincart, junior, from Florida.

CONS:      

Harder to make friends

If you want the “college experience” you have to put in the extra work from day one to meet new people. During freshman year, you MUST take advantage of ROAR, Royals Orientation Advising and Registration, and all the activities provided if you don’t want to be left out. Joining clubs or organizations such as sports, Greek life, CUB, or one of the many clubs Queens has. Becoming part of an organization can help you a lot and it’s never too late to join.

“I miss the bonding you get from always being around and actually living with your peer. A lot of the fun, memorable stuff happens, unplanned and random. So being right there at school allows for you to have those experiences,” said Kincart.

“One main issue I have with commuting is that I feel a little secluded from other people, but I can spend more time on campus if I wanted to, it’s just hard,” said Hamilton.

The Dreaded Early Mornings

Almost everyone dislikes getting up early in the morning. College students try to avoid early 8 a.m. classes, but sometimes there is no way out of it. As a commuter, morning classes are far more annoying since you have to wake up extra early to get ready nor only for school but for traffic – specially if you live far away.

If you are an athlete, you are more likely to have morning workouts either on campus or at the sports complex, which is even more inconvenient for commuters .

Finding parking is a struggle, a real one

Parking at Queens is difficult on its own, but when you are a commuter it becomes extra difficult. One of the many reasons why commuters leave so early is to find a “good spot” or a spot at all. Sometimes there is nowhere to park, and that can lead to commuters being late to class. When it comes to college, every spot counts.

“Parking is absolutely horrific, I can find better parking in New York City, it’s made me late for class and it can be very frustrating,” said Hamilton.

The Drive

“I live 35 minutes away but with traffic my drive can be up to one hour to one hour 20 min. I spend so much gas too. I spend around $1,500 on just on gas,” said Kayla Romero, sophomore, from South Carolina.

Commuters argue that living far away from campus does not allow them to sit where they feel comfortable and relaxed. Often times having to drive home and back can be a struggle. No one likes to drive around all day.

“Odd hours of days make it annoying to drive back and forth from school multiple times,” said Rock.

 Having to live in the library

When residents have breaks between classes, they usually go back to their residence halls. But what do commuters do? They have nowhere to go during long breaks. So they usually chose the library. Another option is to hope their resident friends are not busy at that time. In a small campus it is harder to find things to do or places to go.

“I spend the majority of my days on campus. I will leave in the morning and not go back home until late that night,” said Kincart.

In the end, choosing whether to live on campus or to commute is up to each individual. Both have pros and cons and some work for certain people and others don’t. Regardless of what you end up doing, it will be up to you to shape your college experience either way. Always think about what is best for you and your GPA.

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.