By Abby Koch–It wasn’t my first choice to be a commuter. I wanted the same college experience that every other college kid wants. That American dream of walking into the dorms with your new best friend waiting for you and the first time being free from your parents.
This dream was one of the major things I was looking for in a college. An opportunity of going to college to get my first taste of absolute freedom. But since life is quite a jokester, life decided to give this dream a 180 turn straight into the trash.
My hometown of good ol’ Sioux City was not where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life, but the attraction that I had to Morningside was like nothing else. Something about the people, the culture, and the size were appealing to me compared to state schools. I knew that Morningside was where I should be and that giving up dorm life was the compromise to come here.
I have now been commuting from my parents’ house to Morningside for about two years. In that time, the reactions to the fact that I commute have been really interesting to hear.
I have had people tell me that I’m missing out on the college experience and making friends. I have been told a couple times that it must suck living with my parents. I’ve also been given the I-feel-bad-for-her tone of voice when I tell people that I commute.
So when did being a commuter and living with your parents become uncool? I think that within the past ten or twenty years, there has been a bigger societal push to get kids in a dorm and in debt.
Dorms are not as glorious as they are made out to be. All of my friends have told me about the plagues that have swept through their halls, their neighbors getting funky late at night, and people who don’t know what quiet hours are. This definitely made me look at dorm life with a new light.
Does commuting make it harder to make friends? For me, it was. To be a good commuter, you have to put yourself out there. You have to stick your hand out there and say hello to as many people as you can. You also have to turn into an extrovert to get to know fellow classmates.
Does commuting make you miss out on the college experience? It definitely depends. Being a commuter makes you more selective on what events and activities you attend. This is because a commuter sees this as money we have to spend on gas to be a part of an event. For me, this is the hardest part of being a commuter.
Does living with your parents suck? For me, no, but it did take time for us to adapt once I was in college. Going to college and living with your parents evolves your relationship with them. In high school, you have strict regulations and guidelines, but in college, they become redefined as you are expected to be more mature and responsible. Plus, living with your parents usually guarantees that a great home cooked meal is waiting.
Commuting to college has so many benefits but it is up to you to find the right fit. It definitely puts a stigma on yourself from people around you and from your classmates. But the separation from the noise and cramped quarters makes you more focused on your school work.
Overall, don’t feel bad for me when I tell you that I am a commuter. I’m enjoying my time in college and making it what I want it to be. I have every opportunity to do campus activities that a student living in a dorm has. The difference is that I have to take a short drive to be there.