What I’ve Learned As a TCNJ Commuter Student

During my freshman and sophomore year, I was lucky enough to have my housing and meal plans covered by my EOF (Educational Opportunity Fund) scholarship. However, now that I’m a junior, I don’t get that luxury anymore. Making the decision to make a 45-minute commute every day, and I literally mean E V E R Y D A Y, seemed easy when it was compared to paying $13K+ for a bed and a small room. But, with every new experience comes loads of realizations. Here’s what I’ve learned so far as a first-time commuter:

  1. 1. Early morning classes are made even earlier

    As a morning person, an 8 a.m. isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. BUT, it is still the bane of my existence. I would definitely much rather sleep in, but alas… my degree calls.

  2. 2. There is a lack of napping locations on campus

    Finding somewhere to nap on campus is like trying to find good food on campus. I have amazing friends that have invited me over many times to their campus dorms to sneak in a quick nap, but if you’re like me, that’s a huge favor that I can’t accept. If you see me around campus looking like I haven’t slept in three days… don’t say anything. Because I haven’t.

  3. 3. I always am expecting the worst

    Planning and organizing how your day and week are going to go is KEY to being prepared for the worst. I always leave room for traffic, something not going right, or anything that could get in my way when I plan things out, so I don’t have a mental breakdown in the middle of the Student Center.

  4. 4. I've gotten used to glares from my classmates

    Everyone winces when they learn you’re a commuter. I’m not exaggerating on this one, either. Whenever the word “commuter” leaves my mouth, it’s like it stabs the person I’m talking to in the heart and they feel the need to immediately go, “I’m so sorry, that must suck.” Nah, sis. Paying $13K for a Twin XL bed must suck.

  5. 5. Heading home does wonders

    Being home and being able to sleep in my own bed instead of living at school has done wonders for my mental health. Over the past two years, I literally lived and breathed school because I ate and slept where I studied. For me, it became so draining that I had intense mental and physical breakdowns. Just something as simple as coming home every day, plopping on the couch, and spending time with my family has made life so much better.

So far, commuting to TCNJ hasn’t been a bad experience at all. I’m really glad I’m able to try something like this and have it work out so far. While this list is a little on the negative side, I must say that whenever I think about how I should have gotten an apartment near campus or tried to live in Campus Town, I think about all the new things I get to experience now that I’m off campus.