As a commuter, it is easy to look around and wonder if you’re getting the true college experience, especially from a social standpoint. There are long drives and a fear of disconnect, but commuting does not make a person’s college experience any less valuable.
The best way to stay connected on campus is to get involved in extracurricular activities. There is no need to get involved in 10 clubs at once, but balance is key. Commuting takes a lot of time management, which comes in handy when choosing clubs.
The Association of Commuting Students is a great resource. It is an organization that guides commuters through their college careers. There you will find a community that understands one another because of the similarities of your everyday routines.
Bronc Nation is another source for getting involved in campus activities. On the website, there is a tab for “Organizations” that directs you to over 100 clubs and activities. There are numerous options that can be deduced based on personal, academic and social interest. Within these clubs are plenty of opportunities to get to know people on campus and create new friendships.
It is important to not get overwhelmed because of responsibilities off campus. That is where prioritization and time management become crucial. It makes life easier at school and life at home a lot more manageable. According to Complete College America, 75 percent of commuting students juggle families and jobs as well as school. It is ideal to have the least amount of stress once it’s time to come home each day.
The social aspect of commuting becomes worrisome, but it isn’t as difficult as it seems. The Commuter Lounge allows for relaxation, work and socializing. Also taking part in campus community events, the Fall Concert and Homecoming, increases the chances of meeting new people. It may seem like a hassle to connect with the campus atmosphere, but getting involved is completely worth the time.
I know the anxiety attached to the stigma of being on campus while at college. Jumping into activities that interest you and stepping out of your comfort zone will help you make connections on campus to further your college experience. Even sitting at a table and talking to people at Starbucks can help establish that connection. There is no reason to feel as though your experience isn’t up to par with those who live on campus; they are just different and that’s OK.
Freshman journalism major
Printed in the 10/25/17 issue.