Disclaimer: When I chose Marquette as the college I would be attending, I was intending to live on campus. However, due to unforeseen financial circumstances, the only way I could still attend Marquette would be to commute. Obviously, if I had chosen a college farther away, I wouldn’t have had any choice in staying at home.
“Oh, you live at home?”
“How do you make friends?”
“Why don’t you live on campus?”
“Are you still getting the college experience?”
These are all questions that I, as a commuter at Marquette University, get asked. Sometimes I can hear a twinge of pity in the person’s voice, sometimes they really are just curious. They are all valid questions, though, questions that I had to answer for myself before I made the decision to withdraw from my residence hall and commute. So in this blog post, I’m going to clear up for everyone what it means to “commute” to college.
I’ll address the first question. Yes, I live at home. However, you don’t have to live at home with your parents in order to be considered a commuter. If you live anywhere that isn’t university owned, you’re a commuter. In a few years, this may mean that I live in an apartment only a few blocks away from campus, but for now, I live in West Allis with my Mom and adorable dog for roommates.
Just because I commute doesn’t mean that all I do is go to class and study all the time. While some days I do go home right after class is over, there are some days I stay later, whether it be for a club meeting or just to hang out. Marquette has a Commuters’ Lounge just for commuters to hang in, which is where I spend most of my time and where I’ve met most of my friends. I also do have a few friends who live on campus, and I’ve actually spent time inside an actual dorm room! So to everyone who asks me this question, just because I commute does not mean that I’m a hermit!
As for the college experience, I really think that the stereotypical college experience is just something that is sold way too hard by movies and television shows. Even if I were living in the dorms, my ‘college experience’ would still be different from Anissa’s, which is different than Mia’s, which is different from Sabrina’s, and so on and so forth. College is probably the most unique experience of your life. You get to choose who you hang out with, where you go and at what times, and what you prioritize. I’m still joining clubs, I’m taking classes that I want to take, and I’m making friends. College is definitely an experience that will give you what you put into it, so just because I’m living at home doesn’t mean I’m any different than any other person attending.
That said, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some drawbacks. I don’t have a car, which means I either rely on public transportation or my family to drive me to and from school. If I had my own car, I’d definitely be on campus more often, but since I don’t, I don’t have the luxury of being down at school as much as I would like to be. But a perk to this is that my commuter friends who have cars and live close can pick me up when we decide to do stuff like go to the movies or other things around town.
Either way, I’m really happy that at the least, I get to attend Marquette, which is an awesome university! If you’re considering being a commuter, or maybe even dreading it, don’t because college is what you make it.
Me and my friends! (I’m the girl in the bottom right corner). Photo cred to Joshua.