What It's Like To Commute After Living On Campus

My first two years at UNH, I lived on campus but decided to commute my junior year. Initially, I was only commuting for the first semester with plans to study abroad in the spring. I ended up not studying abroad, (read why here) and decided to continue commuting since I couldn't afford to live on campus. During my first couple weeks of commuting, I hated it. I live in Danville, NH which isn’t too far; most days it would take me 45 minutes to get to campus. Once I got to campus, it would take an average of 15 minutes to even find a parking spot which ended up being in Mast Lot more times than not. Then, I would have to walk a solid 20 minutes to my classes. I am fortunate enough to have friends on campus that let me stay over whenever I need but you don’t realize how annoying it is to pack overnight, especially on the weekends. I never know what I want to wear out or what shoes to bring or how long I plan on staying. If I do plan on staying overnight, it often leads to me having to walk all the way back to my car to get my bag which is way too heavy to carry across campus.

Although commuting was hard to get used to, it wasn’t terrible in the fall because it was nice out. Once the winter parking ban started, I began to HATE commuting. UNH never cancels class in the winter and if they actually decide to, it’s not in advance at all. When it was snowing, it would take me about an hour to get to campus and if I decided to stay overnight, I would have to move my car to one of the few lots that accepted overnight parking during winter parking ban. Then the next morning, I would have to walk and clear off my car which normally took around a half hour. When I lived on campus, I loved snow days because I wasn’t just stuck inside my house; I could walk to my friends’ place or somewhere to get food. But when you commute, and don’t plan it out right, you end up sitting at home all day with your teenage brother, bored out of your mind after watching about six different movies.

Don’t get me wrong - there were some benefits to commuting. Sometimes it felt nice to go home and get away from some of the people at school and spend time with my family. Additionally, it was a nice change of scenery and sometimes nice to be alone after sharing a room for two years. And of course I loved sleeping in my queen sized bed at home instead of a Twin XL in a dorm. Commuting also helped me start managing my time better; I would normally stay on campus all day which meant a lot of days were spent in the library. I was very productive when I was on campus because I knew once I got home, I wouldn’t be able to focus. In a way, it also helped me see my friends more. Since I needed somewhere to stay, I ended up spending a lot of time with my friends that I normally don’t see on a day-to-day basis. If UNH parking didn’t absolutely suck, commuting probably wouldn’t be so bad.

If I had to choose between the two, I would rather live on campus. Thankfully, I am living on campus for my senior year, which probably would not have been possible if I didn’t save all the money I did by commuting this past year. I’m excited to have roommates again and to have long nights with some of my best friends. It’s a hard transition going from living on campus to living at home but I am ready to be a full-time college student again. (Sorry dad!)