By Sarah Bergen
Despite the negative ideas that are often associated with commuting, I have found it to be a very rewarding experience. I always planned to commute to college – I’m just not a dorm kind of girl. Regardless of my ability to make my own decisions, countless people told me that I would miss out on the “college experience,” if I did not overpay to live in a box with another human being who may very well become my worst enemy. Now I am nearly two months into the first semester and while I am comfortable with my routine and satisfied with my performance, others are switching roommates, complaining of exhaustion and, in turn, failing classes.
While many people claim that they would hate driving to school every day, I have found a great amount of peace of mind in my daily commute. It takes me about forty-five minutes to get from my front door to my class. Yet, this time is significantly lengthened because of the only downside I have found to commuting, my long walk from the freshman commuter lot. However, I do not view this trip as an inconvenience. While many students complain about their lack of alone time, I have time to collect my thoughts and relax to some good music five days a week, regardless of my crazy schedule. Even when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, driving to school through a collage of orange and red trees puts a smile on my face.
Many people have asked me if I am having trouble meeting new people because I commute. I think I am very fortunate because I have my best friend from high school here at Rider with me. She lives on campus and introduces me to the wonderful people she meets. She also keeps me informed about all the campus drama that I am more than happy to avoid. The horror stories about roommates and complaints of fatigue I have been hearing all around campus have led me to greatly appreciate my situation and the balance between my academics and social life that I have achieved.
I did not completely avoid having to adjust to living with a roommate, I was just lucky enough to get stuck with someone I love. While most freshman commuters live at home with their parents, I took a different approach. I began my search for a new home for my boyfriend and I to rent before I graduated high school. Searching for an apartment is probably one of the most complicated tasks in the world. There was a problem with every place that I found: falling apart, too far from Rider, too small, too expensive and so on. Finally, just when I was starting to run out of hope a small apartment on a horse farm in Jackson unexpectedly fell into my lap. After months of searching for a place that would suit our needs, we finally found what we were looking for. After living a mile from the beaches of the Jersey Shore for my entire life, I now wake up and see horses and turkeys running around outside my window.
I am extremely happy with my decision to commute to Rider for countless reasons. I love driving and use my commute to relax and gather my thoughts. I pay less to live in my apartment for an entire year than residents pay to live in a dorm for two semesters – and I have air conditioning. Most importantly, I was able to bring my adorable dog and wonderful boyfriend with me on this new chapter of my life. I am very thankful that my transition into college life has gone so smoothly and that everything seems to be falling into place.