Being a commuter is what you make of it

Being a commuter at UH doesn't make or break your college experience. | Iqra Rafey/The Cougar

Being a commuter at UH doesn’t make or break your college experience. | Iqra Rafey/The Cougar

Many people talk about how terrible commuting is and how much you miss out on the college experience, but the commuter experience is what you make of it and could be one of the best decisions of your life. 

According to the University, about 85 percent of the student population commutes. More likely than not, the people on campus will be in the same situation as you. 

Living on campus is so glamorized through movies and other shows that it feels like a requirement in order to enjoy student life and culture. However, living on campus is not a necessity for enjoying college. 

“Romanticizing your commuter experience is the best way to go about these things,” said sophomore public relations major Alexia Aguilar. “I commuted alone for the most part and there’s something peaceful about arriving downtown on a warm foggy morning.” 

The first month of school is the hardest for commuters. Alongside familiarizing themselves with their route to campus, getting used to the college curriculum and finding their social circle, they are met with dorm students easily making plans with those on their floor or heading to breakfast in small little hurdles. 

It might be more difficult for commuter students to make plans, but it is not impossible to have breakfast dates or lunch meet-ups with new friends on campus. The only difference is that it takes more effort. 

Staying on campus for longer periods of time every now and then does wonders to a commuter’s college experience. It does not have to be a daily thing but marking a club meeting, meet-up with a friend or even a simple talk with a professor on a calendar and sticking to it will create an enjoyable college experience. 

Normalizing the life of a commuter will also help in minimizing the shame and the expectation of loneliness in the first year of college. 

Many students still live with their parents while in college and are usually embarrassed to mention that detail to others. However, American culture is only a few of many that look down on this aspect of student life when it is so normalized in other countries. 

Outside of America, it is normalized to live with parents until after college or even marriage. There is an expectation in America that turning 18 means doing everything on your own, but the truth is that all of us still need a helping hand. 

Practicing mindfulness as a commuter is also important since some things might seem out of grasp, but with the effort and perseverance of a bright-eyed college student, the common dorm life glamorized by pop culture will be the least of your concerns. 

Pondering on the what-ifs and could-haves is counterproductive as a commuter. If plans are not able to be made one day, it does not mean that they will never be made. 

Every student’s college experience is different and unique. The wants and needs of a college student are all different as well. 

While some prioritize a social life, others want to save a few thousand dollars a year by commuting. 

Even then, social life is still possible with a little more planning. Joining a club and not shying away from new opportunities will create a college experience just the same as someone who is living on campus. 

Commuters can have just as much fun as the students who live on campus. 

The ways in which they are achieved might just look a little different.

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

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