Whenever planning for college is going on, you bet that most lists are of what to take to your dorm room and decorations, but rarely do people stop to think about the commuters. So here I am representing. Holla. I was a commuter all 4 years of college, and I commuted from far which everyone thought was crazy, but I knew I didn’t want extra debt from staying on campus. Commuting has its benefits, but it also has its downside and I feel that you never know what to expect when every type of advice is directed to those who dorm. So here is my attempt to ease that anxiety.

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No, You’re Not Missing Out On the College Experience But You Might Feel Left Out

I can’t even count how many times people told me this and for a long time I believed it. Since dorming is such a big part of the college experience, people automatically assume that if you’re not doing it, you’re missing out. However, the things that make up a college experience are friends, events, classes, and those are all things you can experience without living on campus. At first you might feel left out because people spend 24/7 together while you’re only there for a few hours, but it’s all about getting involve. Yes, it might take a bit more effort to actually show up, but you’re not missing out.

Things Take Extra Effort

People can so easily walk out and gather together because they all live together. Sometimes classes that end at 9pm may not seem so appealing because you have to drive home. A lot of the things are usually designed for those who dorms, so you have to analyze if it’s worth it to stay for that late SGA meeting or staying on campus for hours. You also have to figure out how to make time pass by in between classes, which means you’ll either be in the library or taking naps in your car. It gets tiring, I do admit, but you just have to get in the hang of doing things to work for you.

You Get the Best of Both Worlds

I mean, you get to go home whenever you want and not deal with obnoxious college kids. You don’t have to be forced to purchase a meal plan to get horrible food at the dining hall. You can show up to school events and go home if it’s terrible and sleep in your own comfy bed that hasn’t been slept on by someone else. You don’t have to live by the rules of your RA and you can even sleep over with a friend if you really want to feel the dorm experience. You can take the good from each world, so that’s always fun. There’s always two sides to the coin.


Being a commuter definitely gave me a different perspective, but it didn’t change the way I enjoyed college. We may feel underrepresented and you might feel like a unicorn when you tell people you’re a commuter but you shouldn’t feel like an outsider.

If you’re a commuter, what are somethings you noticed about your college experience? What are some tips you can give?

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Just a twentysomething living under the California sun. I love putting words in sentences.
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  • Amanda

    Great post! College commuters are often forgotten about especially at bigger state schools. I was fortunate enough to attend a school that provided amenities such as food and a place to relax to the students.


  • It was really interesting to read this from a different point of view! Well done. 🙂

  • My school is definitely a suitecase and commuter school, so even students who have dorms tend to go home most days of the week. To me it’s a waste of money, but to each their own.

    I lived in a dorm freshman year and it was okay, but I couldn’t stand not having a kitchen. And I couldn’t afford the highest meal plan, which meant I could only get about 1 meal a day. So honestly, i prefer commuting!! It’s a lot cheaper for me.

  • I was a commuter for my entire college career, too! High five for commuters! I loved the freedom of being able to eat and cook whatever I wanted to. I did have LONG days at college sometimes–the last semester of Junior year, I was living 40 minutes away from school, and I had an 8:00 a.m. lab and a Chinese class that went till 8:00p.m. at night. Everyday I just stayed at school all day–I hardly ever had to actually do homework at home because I just did it during class breaks. And the 5th floor of the library became my favorite napping place. 🙂 I enjoyed my college experience, and made good friends, too, though it’s not quite as automatic when you have to try a little harder to find them.

  • No way that sounds so amazing! I went to a small private and it wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year that they started a program for commuters!

  • Thank you!

  • I never understood people who dormed and went home all the time. I knew people who lived 15 minutes away from school and had a dorm. Waste of money but like you said, to each their own.

    Meal plans are ridiculously expensive! People would tell me commuting was expensive, but I also found it to be cheaper.

  • I have done both- living on a campus and commuting. Both have perks. Thanks for sharing.

  • GIRL. Idk how you did it all 4 years! It’s only been 2 weeks of commuting for me & although I do agree with things like getting to sleep in my comfy bed & having a kitchen & it’s cheaper, it’s so hard for me to have to carry my laptop & books with me everywhere, rather than leaving things in my room & getting them as I need them. I feel like a freshman all over again.