Commuter dilemma

I always like to use this column to convey how I feel about major issues freshmen may be facing. Right now, the biggest thing on my mind is what I’ll be doing for housing next year. First of all, I should clarify: I did receive multiple roommate offers. Try for River with three other friends, try to get Jonas with my current roommate, rooming with my closest friend in my major (meaning perfectly synced schedules), living with friends in an off campus apartment. Or, break everyone’s heart and commute.

I might just be naive, but how bad can commuting possibly be? If I schedule all my classes to two or three days a week, I only need to come up here two or three times. Sure, I’ll be here from like 9 AM to past midnight on those days, but I can sleep in for the rest of them. I can get a part time job maybe. Plus, I can do a lot more for my family. Help out my sick mom with housework a little bit, be there for my angsty middle school brother, be less of a financial burden to my dad, who’s between jobs. And it would only be for one semester, because spring semester I kind of want to study abroad. With the money I save, it could be possible.

I have talked to several commuters. People that commute from 20 minutes away, people that commute from an hour plus away, a few in between. A few that drive, a few that take public transportation. The consensus is that commuting sucks. It really does. It takes away from your free time. It takes away from your ability to participate in the clubs you want, go to the events you really want to go to, and ultimately takes energy out of your already tiring day. But, as one of them told me, “You save a sh*t ton of money. College is so expensive.”

Commuting feels like the responsible choice. I can never get work study, because I have more scholarship than my EFC. It doesn’t mean my parents are rich. Commuting means saving ten to fifteen thousand a year. That’s like six months worth of mortgage payments for my parents. And don’t get me started on this meal plan situation. The fact that silver had practically doubled was so ridiculous. Pierce never has the breadsticks they claim they have on their online menu. Why should I pay to be lied to?  

Some of my friends are supportive. They say, “Aw, Audrey! If you ever need to crash in my room, my door’s always open.” Others make it a point to dissuade me. “If you become a commuter,” they say, “I’ll never see you ever again!” or “Don’t do it, you’ll hate yourself.” It’s true. There is an opportunity cost. Those late Friday night/ Saturday morning walks, I can’t have any more of those. I can’t play card games until 2 AM, because I’ll have to be awake enough to drive home. I get tired thinking about it.

I do think though that dorming first semester was the best choice. It was crucial to form strong friendships with girls on my floor. To have an RA as a resource, to maximize my “playtime” because my bed was a five minute walk (at most) away. To meet my awesome roommate, whose personality is the same as mine, yet different in so many ways. I just can’t decide if I should “play” for one more year. If it’s okay for me to stay under this protection while my parents foot the bill for “living on campus”. I did learn and grow a lot by staying away from them, but is it time to go back home? I don’t know.

Commuting would make my life harder. I’ll be separated from my friends. I can come around for them, and actually, I can drive if we want to go somewhere out of the NYC area. I only have two more weeks to think about it, so I’m thinking hard every day. I really love it here. But does doing what you want, what you’re comfortable with, allow you to grow? That’s something else I’m thinking about.