Monday, March 31, 2008

Long-distance College Life

Long-distance College Life

Fall Semester 2006 at Texas A&M University Commerce has been an awesome experience, that I have thoroughly enjoyed. All of my teachers at this university have been kind, caring, and dedicated to educating their students – at least the students willing to dedicate time to learning. I enjoy being able to sail away from home for a few hours each day and see this new world that I have thrown myself into. This college campus had many extraordinary benefits that until now I hadn’t been fortunate enough to enjoy. The outstanding new recreational center (fully equipped with fabulous fitness and exercise equipment) has been the number one place where I spend my free time, allowing me to relieve some of the tension placed on me by my demanding life.
Many students at this University enjoy the privilege of living on campus and all the benefits that come with it. Benefits like: socializing with other students, joining clubs, Fraternity/ Sorority houses, and participating in the many exciting events that take place on campus. Great events like: cookouts, touring bands, local parties, and even a memorial for the deceased Vietnam veterans of this country. I have been very fortunate to attend two of the art galleries’ held this semester, however since I must commute to school there is only so much I can take part in. I am missing out on what I believe to be a very important part of the college experience – simply because my circumstances will only permit me to drive to school each day.
Commuting for me is quite a hassle, but I don’t have a choice. Since I am financially part of a lower-middle class family, I can’t afford to live on campus. I also must work at least thirty hours per week to ensure that my monthly expenses are covered. Expenses such as: car-insurance and monthly payments, which most people can relate to. I drive an hour roundtrip to school everyday, work, and do homework therefore I have very little time to ever get socially involved in college life.
Commuting to school, working, and trying to deal with homework is very common for many students attending college, and many of them feel the same way I do. They feel as if college is ‘missing something,’ and it isn’t as fun as they thought that it would be. College life for commuters is often times very limited, and it is unfortunate that we are able to partake in very little of the out-of-class ‘lessons’ that other students receive. Students who live on campus are more likely to learn better and more effective ways to interact with others on a friendly and sometimes even personal level.
Several universities offer extra benefits for students which are specifically helpful to college commuters. These benefits include campus wide email, school lockers, and student lounges – to relax and meet the residents, and residence halls where students may stay over night.
These privileges are certainly accommodating and very usefully, however we need something more. If colleges set forth an organization to better unite commuting students, enticing them to join a club which grouped students by where they live. Students who live in a common area would be given names and phone numbers of other members in their area. These students could then organize meetings, study groups, carpool to a local art gallery, and even entertain them selves at an amusement park. This would allow students to participate in the much needed social side of the college experience.
The organization could schedule and plan events nearby to commuters. The organization could then notify its members about the up-coming events through campus email or newsletters. Students who reside on campus may don’t have to be the only ones to fully enjoy college, let the university come to you.

Works Cited

Rutger's University. “Fight the College Commuter Blues.” iVillage
Spelman College. “Commuter Student Services.” Spelman College
eCampusTours “Commuter Students: How to Become Connected to Your School” eCampusTours
Cornell, Gary. “Does college matter?” ablog (2005)
“Commuting Students” Drew University
“Commuter Students” University of Minnesota
“Dorming vs. Commuting” Team Liquid

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