Commuter conundrum

While living off campus may free students of dormitory boundaries, commuting to campus has burdens of its own.

Students often choose to live at home in order to work or save money. But, in return, commuters often deal with the hassles of parking and keeping up with campus life.

Danni Boyd, a senior, experienced the challenges of commuting from Toledo during her freshman year.

“Planning my time ahead was hard, especially in the winter time. I had to leave 30 to 40 minutes early to beat the traffic and make sure I had a place to park,” she said.

Abbey Nichols, a junior, also experienced parking problems when she commuted to campus before living in a dorm room.

“Commuter parking was a mess, especially last year,” Nichols said. “If you didn’t get there by 8 o’clock in the morning, you had to park at the ice arena.”

Without a parking garage, commuters are often stuck driving around campus or parking far away from their classes.

Stacie Enriquez, the manager of the parking and traffic division, said parking far away from your class and using the shuttle service is a commuter’s best bet.

“The lots next to buildings start to fill up about 8:30 or 9:30,” she said. “The bottom line is that you can’t expect to arrive 15 minutes before and find a space where you want.”

Enriquez said a commuter might avoid problems by knowing where every commuter parking lot is located and allowing more time during unfavorable weather.

Commuters often have to plan their time ahead for more than bad weather.

“If you’re trying to do a group project with people on campus it’s hard to find a time that works for everyone because you have to take into consideration the time it takes you to drive there,” Boyd said.

With the activities commuters are involved with off campus, it can be hard to find time to branch out and meet new people.

Despite participating in extracurricular activities in high school, Colleen Neuman, sophomore, said living off campus and having a job prevents her from becoming involved in late-night campus events.

Boyd has similar feelings. While living in Toledo, she said she wasn’t able to participate in spur-of-the-moment activities with her sorority sisters.

“I missed out on a lot of social activities because I wasn’t hanging out at the house; I was hanging out in Toledo,” she said.

Dealing with such drawbacks may make life on campus seem ideal for a college freshman, but there are advantages to commuting.

Nichols, who lived off campus her first semester, said students living on campus have fewer freedoms.

“It’s not really your space to be in because you’re always sharing it with someone else,” she said.

In addition, Neuman said commuting to campus helped her to stay away from the party scene and focus on her classes.

“It’s helped me to just stay focused. You’re not getting lost and going over to your neighbor’s room and talking,” she said. “I think it’s really helped my GPA.”

For future students, though, Nichols suggests living on campus for at least one year.

“As a freshman, you know more people that way,” Nichols said. “If you go from living on campus to off campus, you’ll always have those friends.”