What You Should Know About… Being a Commuter


Being a commuter definitely has its up’s and down’s. There are some really great parts ($ like saving a LOT of money $) but there are some not-so-great parts (missing out on fun on-campus stuff). I’ve very much enjoyed my time so far as a commuter, but it’s still definitely a lot of work.


  • Family. My family is really important to me, and it’s great that I still get to spend time with them. I get to see my cousin grow up, and I never really feel like I’m missing out on much (except when the semester starts getting crazy).
  • Money. I save so much money. Housing at IUP is more expensive than tuition, so I’m ecstatic that I don’t have to pay that. I also figured that the cost of maintaining and filling up my car for two years is less than half the cost of one semester’s worth of housing. Fair trade for me!
  • Good food. I don’t have to deal with dining hall food. That’s all kinds of awesome for me, especially with my stomach problems. I have a nice packed lunch every afternoon with a delicious home-cooked meal every night. That’s the life.


  • Family. This is both a pro and a con. Sometimes, my family can just be too much for me to handle. As the semester goes on, I tend to become more short-tempered; that doesn’t bode well for my house. I also sometimes feel a little restricted, though that seems to have decreased this school year.
  • Distance. This may depend on how far your commute is, but I know sometimes the distance from campus can be a little irritating for me. If I want to leave and come back later in the day, I have to spend a half hour in the car just to go home and come back. And that’s not counting the fifteen minutes that got me there in the morning and the fifteen minutes to get me home at night. I really don’t want to spend an hour a day driving to and from school, so I usually stay on campus for long stretches. And once I’m home, I’m home. I have missed out on some fun times with my friends on-campus, just because the drive itself is draining.
  • Early mornings. I’m putting this on the con list just because it is for most people (thanks to commuting, I’ve found that I’m actually most productive in the mornings). Anyway, if you want a parking space that you don’t have to walk half a mile to or pay an arm and a leg for, you should probably get to campus pretty early. The lot I park in usually fills up by twenty after 7, while the main commuter lot apparently fills up by 7:30. That can be a bummer and a pain in the neck, especially if you didn’t schedule 8AM’s.
  • Campus construction. This is getting put on here because this is like the biggest annoyance to me. All the construction at IUP really screws with my route to school. There was a road that that I could use as a shortcut right to my parking lot, and it was glorious. Now it’s in a construction zone. Booo.
  • Fear of Missing Out. I’m not a big FOMO person, but I do get a little let down sometimes. It’s hard to get the ‘full experience’ when you live fifteen minutes away, but I’ve made it work. This is on the con list just because it’s such a drawing factor for some people, and I figured most would put it on the con list.

Though the con list outweighs the pro list, I seriously wouldn’t change a thing… I mean, unless I could pick my house up and move it ten minutes closer. The things at the top are important to me when it comes to my college education, and they make up for anything I may be missing or grumbling about.

One comment

  1. Kristina says:

    I was a commuter in school and agree with you on all of these. My most hated part was the fighting for parking each day. By my sophomore year I commuted with a good friend and it made it a bit easier on both of us! Enjoy it! I miss those fun college days!

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