The Ups and Downs of Commuting

Mike Lutz ‘16, ASST. OPINION EDITOR

It’s no secret that the majority of students at Le Moyne are residents. In fact, according to the office of residence life, about 80 percent of the students here live on campus, either in the dorms or townhouses. That leaves the rest of us, the ones who brave the harsh Syracuse winters and roads paved with ice simply to make it to class; we are the commuters. As dreary as it is being a commuter it does have its upsides, but like everything it also has its downsides. As someone who lived on campus my freshman year in Dablon Hall, I think it is safe for me to analyze the differences between the two lifestyles based on my experiences.

First and foremost, if you live off-campus with family members for free it saves a good deal of cash. On-campus housing with a meal plan can cost up to $12,900 a year, couple that with a tuition of $30,350 a year and you’re looking at about $43,250, a year not even including all the bogus fees we are charged. According to Forbes.com the average starting salary for an American with a 4-year degree in 2013 was $45,327. Think about that for a minute, it could take four years of just working and paying no other bills to pay off your college debt if you didn’t get any scholarships or awards. It’s no wonder that the student debt in this country is $1.2 trillion; I can’t even count that high. As a commuter I pay about $2,200 a year for gas and car insurance, making it a much cheaper option for myself than living on campus and many other students have found the same thing to be true for them as well.

Although, as a commuter, I have found myself more isolated from my peers. Sure we have class together for a couple hours a day but then after that most of us commuters just go home while everyone else goes back to the dorms with each other. There is not much opportunity for social interactions when commuting; I found that during my freshman year many social interactions were very impromptu. Sure there were events on campus that brought people together like the Halloween Dance for instance, but most of the time you would be chilling in your room and decide to go see who was around and wanted to do something. As a commuter I don’t exactly have this luxury of walking down the hall and seeing what’s going on, perhaps because most of my schedule is meticulously planned. Since it takes me about 25-30 minutes to get to school on a good day and I also have a part-time job it is important I manage my time well, but I feel this is true for many commuters. So I don’t think I am alone when I say, as a commuter, I feel socially isolated from the rest of the students at Le Moyne.

Would I like to go back to living on campus? Absolutely. Is it practicable for me to? Not unless I suddenly win the lottery. I believe that the social aspect of college is very important if not just as important as the educational aspect of it. In college we are supposed to be really preparing for our futures, discovering who we are, the relationships we develop, and what we want to do with our lives. Sometimes it does not matter what your major is or how well you do academically but rather who you know and what your experiences are. As a commuter I feel as if I am missing out on this important social aspect and I know there are others in my shoes who feel the same way. So my advice to both commuters and residents alike, would be, don’t be a stranger and try to get involved in some of the many groups on campus!