Along for the Ride: Life as a Commuter
While most undergraduate students live on campus, Mount Union also has a fairly large number of commuters. A lot of students who live nearby question whether they should commute. It definitely saves money, but does it also cut down on the “college experience” of making new friends and getting involved?
Two current commuter student share what commuting is really like and offer tips for making the experience worthwhile. Hanna Davis is a sophomore biology major who commutes from Uniontown/Hartville, and Joe Strobelt is a sophomore English literature major commuting from Canton.
“As a first-semester freshman, I decided to join a sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, to meet friends and get involved with events on campus. Also, I applied for a position within Mount Union’s Preview staff and was selected to serve as a Preview Guide. This opportunity also gave me many friends and several ways to meet new students as well as teach them about our campus life. I also joined the pre-physician assistants club (APPAS). This club helped me find others to study with and reach out to if I had any questions about class or assignments I needed help with.” —Hanna
“Most of what I do on campus outside of my classes is related to my fields of study of English and writing. I’m involved with Calliope and English Society, both of which provide a place to relax and enjoy the company of people who share my interests. Instead of simply showing up to the meetings of both of those organizations, I have taken on roles in them, where I am a Junior Editor of Calliope and the Student Senate Representative of English Society. I enjoy being a member of the senate because it pushes me to attend events I wouldn’t normally go to. I also get to hear firsthand how things around campus are changing.” —Joe
Spending Time Between Classes
“I personally like to spend some of my down time in the library because it is quiet and I can work on projects of my own. I also try to see friends, and I want to start using the MAAC more to counterbalance the sitting and driving I do every day.” —Joe
“I usually sit in the 24-hr area with a group of friends if I have a break between classes. Or if I get hungry, I walk over to the B&B to grab some food and a booth to start my homework.” —Hanna
“I do not have many problems with commuting, but one particular inconvenience is that some classes for my major are only offered at 7:30 a.m., which makes an early morning even earlier for a commuter. Driving to class in the winter when the roads are extremely bad can be stressful as well, but I usually have a friend to spend the night with when these bad conditions come up.” —Hanna
“I think the biggest challenge of commuting is that you feel like you have nowhere to go to after classes or organization meetings, but I don’t think any commuter needs to feel that way at Mount. There’s always an event going on or new things to see. It also helps to take classes that require you to go out and have unique experiences.” —Joe
Advice for Future Commuters
“A really important piece of advice for commuters is to schedule wisely. It’ll be a little rough at first because you may not know your major or what organizations you want to join. But after that, you can design your schedule so you have days packed with classes and organization meetings and days that are lighter when you get to go home.” —Joe
“My best advice to incoming commuter students would be to keep an open mind about living off campus. It can be very scary coming to a new campus worrying that you won’t make any friends or you’ll feel left out. Talk to people in your major so you can join similar organizations and study together. Get involved on campus, stay after class for meetings and join clubs of your interest to fulfill the whole college experience. It’s totally worth it.” —Hanna