Although there are more then likely more people living on campus, 808 more people to be exact, then living off campus here at Morningside College, there are still a good number of people living off campus, 465 to be exact. Some people HAVE to live on campus, whether it’s their coach’s rules or money and location issues, others who live off campus for the most part are happy they are living off campus. Reasoning for this vary person to person but the end result is that commuters may complain about the drive, traffic, getting up earlier, weather conditions, no where to go between classes, etc. they would rather live off campus then on.
The commuters I know don’t live that far away from campus, I know there are probably people out there who drive an hour and a half everyday for class, if not longer, but the people I know and talked to only drive (if they even have to drive) 5-7 minutes. Even if someone doesn’t drive to school but lives off campus, even right across the street from campus, they are still considered commuters. For example, sophomore Shannon Smith literally lives right across the street from Olsen Center parking lot, but she is still considered a commuter, and loves being off campus, even though it’s only across the street. Shannon doesn’t live at home with her family like others do, she has four other roommates/friends that also go to Morningside. Smith chose to live off campus for the solo reason of it being cheaper.
Jennie (freshman) and Callie (senior) on the other hand, have a 5-7 minute drive, and they live with their families. In fact Callie lives in her mothers basement with her boyfriend of five years who also went to Morningside. Jennie doesn’t want to live on campus because she started college at the age of 16 and wasn’t ready to move out and now that she is 17 she still doesn’t want the distractions and wants to save as much money as she can. Callie lived on campus the first two years of her college career now she’s over it and doesn’t really care about being apart of the “college life”, it is also cheaper then living on campus.
Callie also does not see the point in living in worse conditions on campus where it is more expensive then living at home and in a nicer house. Jennie on the other hand is all about schooling and grades she said “ I don’t want the distractions of others on my hall or in my room. Plus, any money I can save now will help me in the future.”
I asked all three girls if they would rather live on campus all three answered “definitely not!”
Some positives they have for living off campus is Callie has a garage to park her car in, they all have their own room, less distractions so they are more productive with their homework.
Jennie said, “ At the top of the list is definitely free food and free laundry. Plus I get to see my family and pets every day.”
They are all very happy about their decision of living off campus, but they do have some negatives to deal with like its further from campus, they have to deal with the crappy parking and it is harder to make friends.
Parking is a nightmare; I know I am also a commuter. I may not live far but if I know I will be walking home from across campus at night then I will park my car on the side of campus that I will be on and drive home. It is kind of lazy yes, but it is safe. I had an instance of horrible parking one day where I was driving around looking for a spot, had been looking for about three minutes, just making circles watching a guy walk to his car. Once I figured out where his car was I spotted back enough so he could back out, and right when he backed out some chick comes from behind out of no where, cuts me off, and takes my parking spot, that I was so obviously waiting for. I was pissed to say the least. I had to go to a completely different parking lot across from the church lot.
Callie thinks being a commuter can hold you back from the “college life” but Callie already lived the college life and Jennie cares about her grades more then the “college life”
Callie said, “Yes, kinda but I feel like I’ve already lived the college life my freshman and sophomore year so I don’t really want to live the college life anymore.”
Jennie on the other hand said “No I don’t. I came to college to learn and I’m making grades I’m proud of but I still have friends to hang out with.”
But Shannon on the other hand still is involved; she thinks “ you can be as involved or not-involved as you want to be.”
The last big problem is spare time, what do you do when you have a class in an awkward two hours, but do not want to go home? Callie spends “A TON” of time in the library, especially now since it is “finals season” as she calls it. Others can walk home or sit in bucks or hang out in their department’s office if they are able to. Religion students hang out all the time in the religion office, said Garrett who is getting a minor in religion, and I even hang out (way too much) in the Mass Comm. department. I would rather sit around and talk to Joan or any other students who walk into the department then walk all the way home just to walk back an hour later.
Some commuters are on campus only for class and that is it, others hang around in their spare time. To try and keep commuters on campus Morningside College has a program called Commuter Connection. It is like MAC but for commuters only. They have events/activities every so often with prizes and even free food, treats, coffee and other drinks from time to time in the Spoonholder. They also send out email every so often to commuters telling them what is going on on campus, and any “commuter only” activities, which are all usually free. So a lot of people who do commute do not feel out of the loop because they live off campus. They know what is going on, but it is up to them to actually be a part of the event by showing up. The tricky part for commuter connection is some commuters, like Callie, do not want to come back to campus for an event or even a commuter event. Once you are home, you are home for the rest of the day/night.