Commuting: A blessing and a curse

Commuters balance social life and school all while living off campus. Photo by Cayllah McKensey.
Commuters balance social life and school all while living off campus. Photo by Cayllah McKensey.

Being a commuter at Maryville College is hard enough without the added detail that they can sometimes feel like the forgotten population on campus. Most commuters are only on campus long enough to go to class and then they head home because there isn’t much time for other things due to life at home. But most commuters wouldn’t have it any other way. Even through all the hardships, there is still a silver lining.

Senior Kandyn Leach describes what it’s like to live off campus.

“I love commuting, I really do. It’s nice to live at home and be able to watch my younger siblings grow up,” said Leach.

She explained that even though it can be difficult to live off campus with class cancellations and inclement weather, her family is what matters to her most, and that is why she chooses to live at home with them. Not only that, but she, like many other commuters, don’t have to pay rent which helps with the daunting tuition fees of Maryville College.

On the downside, she explained that it can be hard to have a social life on campus due to her 40 minute commute to arrive on campus.

“I can’t really be involved in many after school activities. I have a job so I can’t just hang out after my classes are over,” said Leach.

She isn’t the only commuter who feels the curse of being left out of campus life. It can be hard to be involved when, in addition to the long drive to and from home, you have nowhere to go to sit and be comfortable, other that the commuter lounge that is often empty. The lounge is the only place on campus designated for commuters to gather, but most times when a student arrives, he or she is the only one there.

Another commuter, Rachel Resciniti explained that her situation is different, but she also wouldn’t change anything about it.

“I’m married, I have a child, and I own my own home; living on campus is obviously not an option for me, and honestly there are times that I regret that . . . there are times I miss out on a lot of things, just because I am not present,” said Resciniti.

Resciniti explained that her situation is different because she is a non-traditional student, and she still wants to be a part of the campus that she calls her own; however, having an entire life outside of MC, is hard to ignore.  The trade-offs are significant, but Resciniti still would not trade living on campus for what she has off campus.

Many commuters feel this sense of regret because of the disconnection between them and the rest of the student body. They miss out on events, clubs and even the small things like late night talks with friends and study sessions. When you live far away from campus, coming back to just hang out is not always an option.

Disconnect seems to be a common feeling. It doesn’t seem be a lack of desire from commuters to be a part of campus life, it is more often than not a lack of time to be here. In fact, most commuters make plans to be involved as they come to Maryville College, but somehow it always fails.

Trying to find your place in this world is hard enough as a college student.  Commuting seems to make everything harder for this group of students— even parking.

Maryville College graduate Augusta Phillips, class of ’16, and commuter all four years of school explained that parking was always a nightmare and next to impossible.

“I can remember how it felt like security never gives tickets to those who park in our parking spots in Thaw or the baseball fields. We are late to class because we are constantly battling renovations, events on campus and other students who live on campus but still park in our space. I always ended up trekking from the Woods and would sprint to class,” said Phillips.

Parking seemed to be Phillips’ biggest memory, but she, and other commuters, all explained the same idea about why it is so great to live at home.

“I have my own space. I have my own quiet time. I have home cooked food that is better than Pearson’s any day. I have my family and my pets, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything,” said Phillips.

Overall, commuters have a hard time figuring out where their place is on campus, and it can be very difficult at times. For all the times that they do not feel at ease on campus, there is a home waiting for them, and no matter what happens, that is always exactly where they are wanted most.

Commuting can be a curse in the fact that commuters often feel like the forgotten population on campus. But they are still as much a part of Maryville College as residential students even if they cannot be on campus all the time.

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