Coming to Wilkes as a freshman, I was nervous about the work load and making friends, like everyone else about to embark on their college career. Being a commuter made that worse in a sense since I am not on campus all of the time and thought it would be more difficult to make friends. My nerves got the better of me, and I can remember on the very first day of classes I almost did not know what to do with myself. However, as the semester progressed, I gradually found myself becoming more comfortable and things got much better. I began to socialize a little more and feel good about going to classes.
Now, I could easily blame so much of this on commuting, and there is no doubt that commuting makes some aspects of college more complicated than living on campus. But in the end it was ultimately my decision, and after one semester down, I can say that I would not want it any other way. After much debating on what career I wanted to pursue and what college would be best for me, I concluded that dorm life was not for me.
Some people may think that wanting to live at home and driving to and from school every day is a bad idea. The truth is that commuting is not nearly as bad as some people are led to believe. I find comfort in knowing that at the end of the day I can return home to do my work in peace rather than be bothered by the usual distractions of dorm life that I so often hear about.
Granted the experience is not exactly the same for commuters and residents, but any commuter could do all the same things as a resident if he or she chooses to. Part of the reason I was initially so nervous to start at Wilkes was because even before school began, it seemed that the residents formed groups. However, all residents I have encountered so far have been extra friendly. I personally feel that commuters are just as much a part of the overall Wilkes community as are those who live on campus, even though commuting is not what most people think when they hear the word “college.”
Many commuters choose to live at home because for many people who live in or around the area, Wilkes is a local university which allows people to save money and still get a good education. After all, Wilkes does have a high commuter population. People who live within 30 minutes or less of the university would rather not spend $15,000 on the ‘college experience’ when they can have the same experiences while living at home. The only downfall of commuting is the possibility of inclement weather during the winter months, but Wilkes is accommodating to those who have to drive to school. Furthermore, commuters have many opportunities to participate in different activities both on and off campus. For example, my friends and I attended the Snowball last semester at Bentley’s, and we had a great time. The comedy night featuring Dave Russo was also a great time and offered the opportunity for a good laugh.
Overall, even as a commuter student I feel fully satisfied with my college experience at Wilkes thus far and I am also so glad that I chose to live at home. Some may disagree with the idea of commuting because college is about coming out of your comfort zone and meeting new people. I do believe that it is important for everyone to know what commuters do and that commuting really is not so bad. It allows one to do well academically, participate in social events and activities, and enjoy the college life all at the same time. I love being a commuter and I would not change a thing.
Many people automatically assume that I am a resident most of the time, as if commuting in some cases is unheard of. In fact, a man at work recently said “I bet you wish you didn’t live at home,” and I found it interesting because many commuters do not feel this way at all.