To Commute or Not to Commute? How to Figure Out Whether Commuting to School is Right For You

When you think of the college experience, many things probably come to mind. One of those things is probably living on campus in a dorm and having a roommate. However, on-campus housing isn’t the only college experience. For many students, the reality is that they need to commute to and from classes. Below are several things to consider when deciding whether or not commuting is right for you!

  1. 1. The Commute

    So, what exactly is your commute like? Are you driving? Are you taking public transportation? How long is your commute? How expensive (bus/train fares or gas) is it? These are all really important things to consider. 

    If your commute is going to be difficult, it may not be worth the hassle. Personally, I have 8 am classes and tend to stay until 8 or 9 pm. Which means I would be traveling back and forth very early and very late. However, that doesn't affect me all too much because my commute isn’t that long nor difficult. If you have to go out of your way to commute or it takes too much time, it may not be worth it. You definitely don’t want to add unnecessary stress to your life just to commute. 

  2. 2. Time Management 

    Time management is so important when commuting! You aren’t down the street from your class, so you can’t just roll out of bed and be in class in five minutes. You have to be really particular with how you use your time. Think of how long your commute will take, when your classes are, and when you want to hang out with friends. The reality for me is when I have an 8 am, I have to leave my house at 7 am—meaning I have to get up at 6 am. You also have to consider when you will have time to do homework and study. Planning your schedule and managing your time to fit in everything is extremely important. If that seems impossible for you, then commuting might not be right for you. 

  3. 3. Social Life

    When you’re a commuter, you don’t have the luxury of simply going out with your friends after class or catching up with people at dinner. This is something especially important to consider when you’re a freshman. Freshman year is the most important time in making friends during college. Personally, I have social anxiety and know that socializing and making friends is difficult for me. I’m involved in a lot of clubs and organizations that give me the opportunity to socialize and make friends. However, I joined these clubs as a freshman and had more time to get to know people at that time because I was living in a dorm. Also, many people hang out on the weekends. Personally, I don’t go through the hassle of going to campus on weekends, unless I have to. If you think commuting would negatively affect your social life, then don’t commute. Be aware of the fact that not socializing or making friends could have a negative impact on your mental health. And don't forget that making friends and having fun is one of the most important parts of college!

  4. 4. Money

    I know money is probably the biggest factor when it comes to the decision of whether to commute or not. This might sound crazy, but don’t let the money sway your decision. I understand that college is expensive and commuting would take off a hefty chunk off of your bill. But there are so many other things you have to consider in this decision. All the things that I previously mentioned are just as important as the money. 

    If the commute itself is difficult, you struggle with time management, and you think you may struggle with making friends, then commuting may not be for you even if it would be less expensive. You don’t want to run yourself down just to save money or you won’t have a worthwhile college experience. Personally, money was one of the primary reasons I contemplated commuting. At the end of the day, my decision to commute came from the realization that I felt more comfortable and anxiety-free the nights I stayed at home compared to the nights I stayed on-campus. 

The decision to commute or not is very difficult for students contemplating it. I hope this advice helps you in your decision-making process. Just know that whatever decision you make, you'll be making the right one for you.

 

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