Commuter vs Resident Student Your Freshman Year

If you’re like me and are going to a college close to home (I’m only ten minutes away during heavy traffic), you have more choice regarding your living situation for the years where most students are required to stay on campus. For me, I chose, much to the disappointment of my parents to stay on campus, but due to some circumstances that I won’t disclose in this article, halfway through the semester, I packed up and moved back into my room at home. Below are some pros and cons of both living on campus and living at home if you meet the fifty mile requirement for your university.  


Staying Home



SAVE MONEY! Everyone knows that college students are usually poor, after paying tuition and then paying even more for wildly expensive books, the likelihood of you having enough money for a fun night out with your friends in the near future is well… slim to none. Staying home saves you the money you would spend on rooming, meal plan, and room decor costs. For me, I was fortunate enough to obtain enough scholarships to cover my entire cost of attendance, so staying at home for this next semester means that I’ll be getting a nicely sized refund check in the mail very soon. Drinks are on me, ladies!

Home cooked meals. It’s the number one complaint that I hear from resident students and one that I had myself. Cafe food can get disgusting real quick after a bout three weeks or so and thank goodness Winthrop’s on campus Chick-fil-a was just opened not too long ago, but even still, who doesn’t want their mom’s signature dish every once and awhile?

Your OWN bathroom. Hopefully, you don’t have thirty other people you shared a bathroom with at home, and even if you did have to share, it was most likely only with up to four to five other people, way better than having a communal bathroom with girls that can’t seem to get it through their heads that leaving underwear and clumps of hair in the shower is so not okay.



 Feeling disconnected. Living at home in college is one of the easiest ways to feel disconnected from the majority of the people your age who will be living on campus. While they’re hanging out in the lobbies of the residence halls and going out at crazy hours in the morning after watching hours of movies in their dorms, where will you be? Most likely at home, not making friends. Now, am I saying that if you are a commuter you can’t make friends? Not at all. That’s where joining clubs and organizations come in, it’s just going to take a little more effort on your part to be part of the college community.

 Commuting time/money. As a commuter, hopefully you will have your own car, and if you do you know that gas isn’t cheap. Driving to and from school every day can eat up your gas pretty quickly, and if you aren’t working, scrounging up a few coins to get your gas needle off the E can be stressful. Even if you don’t have a car and you use a service like Uber and Lyft to get to and from school, those prices can add up too, adding on to your already expensive college tuition.

 Accessibility. Wake up at 7:50 for your 8 AM class while living on campus? No problem, throw on a shirt and some pants and sprint to class. Wake up at 7:50 for your 8 AM class while living at home. Ha! That’s a good one! Oh, wait… you weren’t kidding? Yikes, well there goes your attendance for that day. Living at home takes up so much of your time, you have to factor in travel time along with the amount of time it takes you to get ready and then how long it takes you to walk to class from your crappy commuter parking spot to class. And as we all know, the one day you need to get in a rush all the lights will be red and nothing, and I mean nothing will go the way you need it to.


Living on Campus



Easy access. As mentioned before in the cons of living off campus, getting to things on campus in a timely fashion is a struggle. Living on campus makes that a little easier. When I stayed on campus, my dorm was a short minute walk to the cafeteria and only about a three minute walk to the center of campus where the gym and Starbucks are located. It was super easy for me to sleep in and still have enough time to get up and get breakfast before heading to class, a luxury I don’t have now that I stay at home.

 In the know. Dorms are the center of gossip on campus. Within the first two weeks of school I already knew some things about people that may have been a bit too personal, but alerted of the people I needed to be wary of. Along with that, there will be plenty of signs and flyers stapled on every bulletin board announcing things that are going on around campus that might interest you, including some job opportunities in cash you were looking to make some extra cash.

Connections. Living in a dorm as a freshman usually means that you will not only have a roommate, but also be living on a floor with about thirty other girls. From mandatory hall meetings to bumping into the same girl over and over again in the elevator, you’ll be prone to make friends with at least one person and hopefully many more just from your location. In addition to that, your RA will most likely start a group message that will serve as basically a trading service in which girls will constantly be asking for anything from an extra tampon to a stick of butter for the cookies they’re making for the whole hall.



Loud floormates. I cannot tell you how many times I was up at night listening to the people above me move their furniture around at the most random times at night. At first it was fine, I was up doing nothing but watching Netflix and on FaceTime with my friends that had went to college hours away with nothing to do the next morning but attend mandatory freshmen events. However, as the semester progressed and my work load/need for sleep increased, I was furious. Who the heck moves furniture at three am anyway? GO TO SLEEP!!

Bathroom issues. The bathroom on my side of the hall always seemed to be having issues. Either the doors were jammed and we had to walk to the other end of the hall to shower or someone would leave it a mess and the cleaning lady would rant about it to the RA who would then get on everyone, even though it was only the fault of one or two girls. Super annoying and disgusting depending on the severity of the the mess left behind.

Space. Never enough space in the dorm to decorate and position things like you want. Never enough parking spaces. Never enough personal space because you’re always around people. A big thing with living on college is that you never seem to have enough room and it can feel claustrophobic after a while. You might love your roommate, but coming back after an especially long and stressful day to another person and not being about to shut them out essentially can get exhausting, and don’t even get me started on parking! Wouldn’t you think that a university who sees a larger amount of students coming each year would think, Hmm, maybe we should give them more parking spaces! Beware of the parking police, no matter what they say, they indeed are out to get you.


Ultimately the decision is up to you if you’re staying close to home for college.

Will you stay home with your privacy and home cooked meals but risk missing out on some of the fun resident students experience, or will you spend a little extra cash to stay on campus where connections abound, but you might have to deal with residence halls that don’t quite live up to your standards?

What will you decide? Let us know in the comments!