Everyone talks about how difficult it is to move into and live in the dorms—how hard it is to adjust to a new environment and be surrounded by people you have yet to meet.
But no one talks about how difficult it can be to get up at an ungodly hour, scrape off the ice practically embedded in your windshield and drive for 30 minutes (45 with traffic) to have to stay at school all day because your classes are too far apart to want to stay, but at the same time too close together to be able to go home.
Truly a dilemma.
You can tell a commuter student apart from dorm kids because of the amount of stuff they keep in their car at all times. Snacks? Check. Blankets? Check. Change of clothes? Check. Survival kit? Double check.
The trouble with living at home so far away from college life can be pretty hard on students, especially in their first year. You never get the exciting “moving into your dorm room and meeting your roommate for the first time” moment. You turn down opportunities because they are too far away from your classes and you’d rather not go back and forth.
Making friends is the toughest part though. Because you aren’t living in a dorm and surrounded by new people 24/7, it’s hard to put in the extra effort to put yourself out there. You go to class, you go home. And that can be lonely.
The best way to beat it is to stay past your hours and find a commitment. A job or a club that you can get involved in. Finding something that you’re passionate about and can put into action will help you in not only expanding your network, but will also increase your stamina. You might find you can go a full fourteen hours on campus on a Monday and feel motivated to do homework when you get home.
Finding something that keeps you motivated to stay on campus will help you stay on campus longer and find even more things to do.
Just be sure to pack your car full of things you might need during the day and the long hours spent away from home won’t seem as tough.
Commuting gets easier and you’ll find that what you pay in gas is worth it to spend extra time with your friends, especially if you’re living rent free.
Sarah Strang can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @sarahstrang100.