Considering Commuter Stigma

At some point, we all have asked someone whether they are a commuter or not, especially in regards to group projects. We can collectively agree that group projects with college students are definitely a mission to coordinate, but that’s a different article. The thing is, often times we already have a bias and tend to ask in a negative way as if the other student is a burden if they are a commuter. However, we forget how it must feel like to be a commuter. Being a commuter is having to leave the house an hour and a half early in the morning while dealing with traffic just to make it to a 10 o’clock class, whereas someone on campus only has to wake up at latest 9:30 a.m. for it. Being a commuter is not being able to come back home until later in the evening because of organization commitments or events that start late and last until almost 9 or 10 p.m. And don’t forget about homework, because some things had to be done at Agnes during the day, such as meetings. There’s practically no time to do homework until you’re home, and then you end up staying up to do it only to wake up in a couple of hours to get back to the routine.

I am speaking from my personal experience from when I was a boarder my first year at Agnes then became a commuter due to expenses and personal commitments. The narrative shifts, and I have noticed the change from other peers. I personally am a flexible person with an understanding family, as well as a great support group on campus that allows me to spend time in their rooms or spend the night, with whatever I need at the moment to accommodate my long day at Agnes. However, not all commuters are lucky enough to have that on-campus support. The majority of the commuters I know are commuters not by choice but because they have circumstances at home or with the school, which make them limit their time on campus and make the most out of it.

Not being on campus has its own pros and cons, but overall commuters tend to miss out on the ultimate college experience most people talk about because those experiences are geared toward night time events or events that they cannot participate in because it conflicts with something else that has a bigger priority. The point of the article is not to say, let’s start sympathizing commuters and cut them some slack, but rather to acknowledge the stigma that we have when we find out someone is a commuter. Hopefully, this inspires us to change the way we think and instead attempt to understand the other side.