Life as a commuter: The struggle is real

Elissa Smith, Reporter

Save money. Save money. Save money.

This was pounded into my head while I was sorting through college catalogs just a year ago. Commuting to school seemed like the only way to not be in agonizing debt by graduation.

Now I’m three weeks in and already not sure I like my choices.

Not only is it a drag leaving the house 45 minutes before my 8 a.m. class, but living on campus seems so fun. If there’s not something campus wide to take part in, there’s hundreds of new people in their own closet-sized room next to yours just looking for a friend.

Eating presents its own struggle to a commuter. People I’ve met will head toward the union with lunch in mind. When we get there they disappear into residential dining and I’m at Subway, for the third time this week.

The one time I did find people to drag on over to Salsarita’s, I left my wallet in my car that’s parked on Grant St, the street that’s a marathon away.

“I’ll just run to my car and grab it!” Well, it doesn’t take 30 minutes to eat a taco.

I’ve also encountered the late-nighters.

Its 8pm and “Hey! We’re on your side of the union, come get food!”

Friends! I’ve made them successfully, but look, there’s no way I’m driving down there for a 20-minute late night snack. And so my social life suffers just a little while I share pretzels with my cat.

Of course driving to and from campus has plenty of problems too. There are the average road rage-filled jerks trying to get to work on time, the “highway” that’s 30 mph, the construction that DOES. NOT. END., the pouring rain, the soon to be snow, and me, with a class in twenty minutes.

If by some miracle I do get there early, just because I make it onto campus on time does not ensure that I’ve arrived to class on time. Pulling into a parking lot, circling and circling, and finally giving into the Grant St. parking lot happens too often.

Now all that’s left is walking what seems like miles in the heat, and I’m sure won’t seem much shorter in the snow.

In addition to being forced to walk for eons, it was a solid $70 just to park anywhere on the campus. And if you don’t have that little sticker, watch out, another $25 is coming at you. Oh! But I was provided a bus pass, all wrapped up in student fees. Haven’t used it once, and probably never will.

Are there benefits of living at home? Of course! I am, after all, saving money. I get home cooked meals and my own free bed. If living with your parents wasn’t free, why would anyone want to do it?

But that’s just the thing: parents.

“Where ya goin? Whatcha doin? Who ya with? Shouldn’t you be studying? Do something for school. Stop eating junk. Go to bed.”
Nothing’s changed since high school. Where’s the fun in that? I’ll tell you: there is none.

I’m sure there are plenty of downfalls to living on campus. Those showers? The laundry? No thanks. The dining hall will get boring if it hasn’t already. I might get a little homesick. But I believe all that is worth it for this “college experience” nobody will shut up about.

Maybe next year I’ll see what all the talk is about.