When I first told friends and family that word in alignment with my college plans, the responses I received were:
"You won't get the full experience."
"It'll be really difficult to make friends."
"You'll regret not living on campus."
But despite hearing those things, I stood by decision to commute and did so for all four years of my undergraduate career. And you know what?
They were wrong.
I did get the full experience, I have tons of friends (both commuters and residents), and I don't regret not living on campus.
Commuter students make up 40 percent of the undergraduate student body on Cabrini's campus, which roughly rounds out to 520 out of 1,300 students. If the option to commute is there, here are some reasons you may want to consider joining the #CavCommuters family!
To start with the obvious reasons, you'll save a ton of money. And then we'll continue with your cliché benefits of commuting such as not having to wear shower shoes, regular homecooked meals, and the joy/comfort of our own bed each night. While these are all fine and dandy, there are some other benefits and reasons that aren't always in the regular conversations of commuters and their colleagues.
For starters, we'll likely never wake up in the middle of the night to a fire alarm... or while we're in the shower for that matter!
And in some senses, I believe we (commuters) have more responsibility than resident students. Sure they have to do their own laundry (if they haven't before they came in to college) and they learn how to adjust to a roommate, but in my opinion commuters take the crown on this subtopic.
Commuter students have to take their daily commute into consideration on a daily basis. Factors such as traffic, weather, and start time of our first class really takes a lot of thought and pre-planning with every day of the week. On Monday we could need 20 extra minutes to warm up our car and get the snow off while on Thursday we need to allot 45 extra minutes due to rain... because we all know when it rains, people suddenly forget how to drive!
Going back to my original points, I believe I have gotten the "full experience" that many would say only residents can get. I've gotten involved everywhere and anywhere on campus, was named Mr. Cabrini this past fall and ultimately have done things I never thought I would've done as a senior in high school.
I've made tons of friends and although I had to make a bit more of an effort to get involved on campus, I've made friends in my major, in the activities I've been involved in, and through my work and internship experiences. And I can truly say each and every one of them has had some sort of impact on me or left something with me that I will remember about them.
You won't regret not living on campus. While somedays you will get flustered by the commute home after a long day of classes and meetings or will sigh at the sight of rush hour on the clock, the positives will always outweigh negatives.
And speaking to Cabrini's campus specifically, commuters are just as much a part of the community compared to the residents. Commuter students at Cabrini are student athletes, while some have spent many nights doing research and classwork in campus buildings (which become second homes).
As Commuter Engagement Intern this year, I have to emphasize the fact that commuters do succeed here and have and will always make an equal-impact and sometimes greater impact than resident students on this campus.
All in all, I believe if the option to commute is there a student should at least try it for one semester or year. In my mind, the benefits are there across a variety of categories and you can get just as equal of an experience as any other student (commuter or not). The effort to do so just has to be present and evident.