Two months ago, I moved in to my dorm at Youngstown State University. My school is a relatively averaged sized one, with about 12,000 or so students attending. However, of those 12,000 students, only about 800 of them actually live on campus. The fact that so many people commute has created some struggles for me and some of my other residential friends.
1. It's harder to make friends since mostly everyone is just there for classes.
With so many students commuting, most show up just to attend classes and go home. Because of this, most commuting students aren't interested in making friends with the other students in their classes.
2. Campus is dead on the weekends.
Even the people who do live on campus usually only live about a half hour away. As a result, most of these people go home on the weekends. Since no one is around, the school will rarely, if ever, plan any activities for the weekend. This causes campus life to be completely dead at this time.
3. Often times, campus will be closed.
Because barely anyone is on campus, often times campus will close on the weekends. It may be open on Saturdays, but usually on Sundays everything is shut down for the week. A few things may be open like the one dining hall, but having campus be closed means that you can't get into places like the library or the student center.
4. You can feel trapped if you don't have a car.
Since campus is closed on weekends or Sundays, no one is around. If you don't have a car, you can feel trapped in your dorm room. There's really nothing to do if you can't get away. I would suggest making friends with someone who does have a car so you don't have to suffer through the loneliness of most weekends.
5. Campus events are usually off campus.
Another downside of not having a car is when the school or different organizations plan things, they will usually hold the events off campus, especially if they're in the evening. The school is trying to make these events more accessible for commuter students, but it just makes it even harder for resident students to attend, especially if those resident students don't have a way to leave campus.
6. If you're from more than an hour away, you're the odd one out.
At least at my school, it seems like almost everyone I've talked to is from a half hour or less away. They know the area pretty well, but since I'm from 13 hours away, no one knows anything about where I'm from. In my whole class of over 2000, there are only about 30 kids from out of state, so very few people here can understand my pain.
7. There's only one dining hall.
Since so few people live on campus, not many students have a meal plan. Because of this, there is usually only one dining hall. There may be other restaurants on campus, but there's only one place to use your meal swipes. Often times, the dining hall is way out of the way, so it can be a hassle to get there.
8. Clubs and classes usually clash.
Student Organizations still want commuter students to join, so the groups will often hold them at weird times, including early afternoon. The groups hope that by holding meetings earlier that commuter students will not have gone home yet. These early meeting times can often interfere with classes, and your class schedule can prevent you from joining clubs you would otherwise like to join.
All that being said, going to a school like this isn't all bad. If you are in a similar position to mine, try not to let a mainly commuter campus ruin your "true college experience."
Lead Image Credit: Jay Wennington via Unsplash