Siena College has a large amount of commuters, with more than 700 students commuting to campus. Students commute instead of living at school for numerous reasons; including being homebodies, to save money, and for health or family problems. Carrie Duncan is a junior at Siena, majoring in Management. Carrie has a golden retriever named Ben and 9 stray kittens. Whenever someone asks what dorm she stays in, they are always surprised to hear she lives at home because she is on campus so often, she practically lives here.
Her Campus Siena: How long have you been commuting?
Carrie Duncan: I have been a commuter since I was freshman.
HCS: How far do you live from school?
CD: I live in Troy, New York which is 20 minutes away during traffic and about 15 minutes when there is no traffic.
HCS: When you were thinking about college, was it always your plan to commute?
CD: No, when I first sent my application into Siena I put down that I was resident and I didn’t tell my parents until a month before school was starting – they were not happy with me.
HCS: Have you ever wanted to live on campus?
CD: Yes, all the time. I complain to my parents every year that I want to live on campus.
HCS: What are some of your favorite things about commuting?
CD: I get to see my dog whenever I want, and I don’t have to share my room with anyone else. I also love getting to see my parents even though they complain I don’t spend enough time with them.
HCS: What are some of your least favorite things about commuting?
CD: Where do I begin..I feel like I don’t spend enough time with my friends and if I lived on campus I would be able to see them whenever I wanted to. I feel like I am more stressed out because I have to plan ahead when to leave in order to get to places like to class on time since I have to plan around traffic and accidents. Also, if I want to go home and go to bed, I have to drive 20 minutes. To make it worse, I am notorious for not filling up my car and driving on empty so my Dad has had to come to save me when I run out of gas multiple times, even when it happens at 3 a.m. in the morning. Gas money is also a pain.
HCS: Have you ever gone to any of the events specifically for commuters?
CD: Yes, I’ve been to one where we got free smoothies in the beginning of the school year at the SSU. I’ve been to a lot of events in the dorms hosted by the RAs like watching movies and painting bricks. I may have also gone to a hall meeting once.
HCS: How do you still stay involved in campus life?
CD: I hang out with my friends, it’s kinda easy to be involved because I’m on campus so often to hang out with them. I’ve done intramural volleyball, wall-e ball, and basketball which are a lot of fun. I’m also part of the Blood Drive Club and I’ve volunteered to encourage people to sign up for the Blood Drive here. I’ve been to numerous formals including three club soccer formals, the tennis formal on the boat, club volleyball and baseball, hockey, cheerleading and basketball.
HCS: Have you ever had any trouble getting to class, especially in the winter?
CD: I’ve never had personal experience with car troubles because whenever it has snowed I have slept in my friend’s room. Although I have used the excuse of car troubles to get out of class before.
HCS: Any advice to freshmen commuters?
CD: Yeah, don’t commute. Living on campus is so much better.
HCS: Is there anything Siena could do differently regarding life for commuters?
CD: Yeah, they could make the housing cheaper so us commuters could live on campus. Also, more classes should be cancelled when there are snow and ice storms because it’s dangerous to be driving to class in this weather.
As Carrie talked about, there are definitely both pros and cons when it comes to commuting. Even if certain aspects of college may be harder if you don’t live at school, there are still so many ways to stay involved in campus life through intramurals, clubs, events, and by hanging out with friends. Whether living on campus or at home, you can still make the most of your college experience.