The UH commuter experience could be better

UH commuter experience

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

The UH commuter experience is difficult to enjoy for many students. The “ideal” college experience is built around a student that lives on campus, not a commuter.

The commuting experience is not tied down to “not making enough friends” but the inconvenient infrastructure, lack of autonomy and sacrificing your social life to graduate. 

Political science freshman Allyson Campos decided to commute since she was advised by many that it would save her money. 

“Being a commuter has drastically changed my college experience,” Campos said. “Hanging out requires you to block out a whole day just to come to campus. Most meetings are at around 6 p.m. and with traffic, I end up coming home really late. The hours I lose commuting to and from UH could have been used to study and it feels as if I have no time in a day to get work done.” 

Kinesiology junior Priscilla Munoz posted a TikTok last week that gained over 60,000 views that talked about how difficult it is to be a commuter. Over 100 UH students commented how they felt the same. 

“Some people say that joining organizations is good for commuters to make friends but for me, it’s hard to set aside time from my studies and job to attend mandatory meetings and events,” said Munoz. 

UH has attempted to relieve the strain of commuting through its Commuter Assistant Program, yet there is a lack of improvement in commuters’ outlook.

“I didn’t know that existed,” said Campos. Computer science freshman Carolyn Heron has only heard of the Commuter Assistant Program once during this year’s commuter fair.

There is a lack of understanding over the wants of commuters. While it is true that commuters want to make friends and enjoy their time on campus, outside factors prevent them. 

“Another difficulty as a commuter is that sometimes you can feel trapped on campus,” Heron said. “In between or after classes, I find myself shifting between the library, the student center or the CBB study area.”

Construction has also been a huge issue the past few years as several spots at UH are either shut down or under construction. UH’s underground satellite has been shut down since 2019 despite plans for its reconstruction to be completed by mid-2022.

“There’s no place to lay down or recline for a bit. I have seen other students sleep in study carrels or in their car but it does not sound very comfortable,” Heron said. 

About 70 percent to 96 percent of students get less than eight hours of sleep. Commuter students do not sleep well because a lot of their time is spent trying to achieve an enjoyable college experience. 

For UH to improve commuters’ morale regarding the college experience, it needs to implement changes that nourish the experience of a commuter. Forcing commuters to pretend that they are dormers is not helpful. 

UH should invest in cheaper parking, sleeping pods and better infrastructure that minimizes traffic and develops a different outlook on what it means to be a commuter. 

Commuters deserve a better college experience. 

Cindy Rivas Alfaro is a journalism freshman who can be reached at [email protected]

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