Before entering college, commuting was something that was on my mind a lot. Would I miss out if I wasn’t on campus? Would it be easier for me to travel back and forth, rather than adapt to a new living environment? Over the last year, I’ve realized that commuting is definitely beneficial for both my academic and athletic careers.

While all students commute for different reasons, mine comes down to both my family and my finances. I live roughly ten to fifteen minutes away from the college, so it feels nearly pointless for me to stay on campus. For the extra money I spend on gas in a semester, I’m still ahead in the fact that my student loans won’t be nearly as high when I graduate in two years.

Personally, commuting is beneficial for both my family and me. My brother is a junior in high school and doesn’t currently have his license. Additionally, he has a heart condition that prevents him from being able to get a COVID-19 vaccine. To keep him safer, I tag-team with my father to take him to school, rather than risking his safety on the bus. This isn’t an everyday occurrence, but it still feels nice to know that I’m helping out when I can.

Another bright side to commuting is that it benefits my job. I work at Goshen Public Library, which is a three- to five-minute drive from campus, depending on the time of day and traffic. My boss is able to schedule me around times she knows I’ll be on campus so that I don’t have to factor additional travel into my day. This typically frees up my mornings or evenings to do my coursework.

On the other hand, commuting also poses some difficulties for me. It requires me to have better time management skills. I have to factor in travel time to and from campus. I’m a chronic procrastinator, so doing assignments earlier than I usually would is something I’ve had to work on. Winter also poses a struggle, as I sometimes have to drive on slick and icy roads that I usually wouldn’t want to.A handful of times in the spring semester of my freshman year, I had to email my professors to see if I could either Zoom into class or if they would be alright if I missed class. 

With all the above in consideration, I feel that I’m still really connected to campus life despite commuting. This could be because I’m on the women’s tennis team and spend a lot of additional time on campus because of practices and matches. I feel that it’s been easy for me to make friends in classes, most of which I make plans with outside of classes too.

While it’s not something that I partake in, there are also several clubs and campus activities going on constantly. Last year was hard because of COVID-19,, but I’m seeing an uptick in fun things to do and join this semester, even though we’re only three weeks into the school year.

To any incoming freshman or current students considering commuting, I would recommend it. You’re not going to miss out on nearly anything, and making friends that you can spend time with, even as a commuter, is easier than you would think.