In 6th and 7th grade, I would go on a college tour during Spring Break. Five days, best friends, and hotel rooms with no adult supervision! My friends and I did go a little wild, but who wouldn’t with all that freedom? Each day we would hop on the coach bus and go visit a college. Becoming a commuter student never crossed my mind because hearing about living in the dorm got me excited. No adults and totally freedom, sign me up for dorm life!
Well, let’s skip to after I graduate from my dual-enrollment program. Not only did I choose not to go to college out of state, but I would be living at home. It should be easy, right? I spent my entire life living at home. I practically finished my freshman year during my dual-enrollment program.
It wasn’t as easy as I thought. I wanted more freedom, yet I felt restricted. The image of living at home clashed with the idea I had always associated with what I saw when people talked about college. After talking with my older siblings that did live at their college, I realized that being a commuter student comes with so many advantages.
1. Stay connected with family
It’s a lot easier to stay connected with someone when you see them every day. Even when I get busy, I still have to come home, and I get to hang out with my family. Not to mention, you stay on top of all the inside jokes. Currently, I’m watching an anime called “Hunter x Hunter,” so we jokingly say texture surprise and chain jail to each other.
2. Bring up your finance game
You can bring up your financial game no matter where you go. That being said, my personal finances have benefited because I decided to stay home. First off, you don’t have to worry about buying a fridge, t.v., or iron board. Plus, you don’t have to buy a new wardrobe because the area your college is in has a different climate than your own. For my older brother and one of my older sisters, they moved from sunny Las Vegas to the tundra that is Syracuse, NY. It’s pretty funny because I was chilling in my shorts while they had coats and scarves on.
Let’s not forget that personal finance involves trial and error to find out works out for you. Making some financial mistakes while you live at home is an easier problem to fix since you have a back-up. For me, I’m really into personal finance, but I still have problems budgeting, saving enough money for all my goals, and keeping myself on the right path for my money. Knowing that I can count on my family has helped cut down on some of my financial stress. I’m a bit of a worrywart, so any stress that can be reduced is great in my book.
3. Can jump more out of your comfort zone
Have you ever felt like every day was the same, and the only difference between the days were insignificant variations? Well, I go through that if I don’t switch up my routine. I like doing something new and exciting every once and a while. Sadly, a new show on Netflix doesn’t cut it.
Deciding to live at home kept my schedule unchanged. I was still content, but I still felt an urge to do something different. So, I decided to join a few clubs. After getting into a routine with my clubs, I got that urge again and turned to free online classes through Coursera and Lynda. Then, I got bored again and knew that I had to start my own blog, so here we are!
If I went to college out of state, I think I might have gotten around to starting my own blog and taking classes through Coursera and Lynda, but I would have taken longer. When everything is so different from my usual routine, I don’t get that urge to do something new.
4. Focus on school work
You know that spot where you can go and focus. When you go to a new environment, you have to find those spots all over again. I have been going to my university since 2015, and I know there are still new spots waiting for me. Knowing that I can choose between studying at my college or studying at home is a game changer. Sometimes, I want to delete all distractions, so one of the computer labs at my college is the best place to study. Other times, I need to walk around, talk out loud, and interact with others to study effectively.
5. Take on opportunities that you must make a year-round commitment
Being able to take advantage of these types of opportunities could have a post of its on. My biggest opportunity is that I was able to keep my great part-time job when I went to my state university. If I had to go away for college, I would have had to give up my flexible part-time job for something else.
6. Enjoy your home life
Isn’t this advantage just like the “stay in contact with family and friends” one? NOPE! This advantage deals with the familiar “things” and “places” that give us the warm fuzzy feeling inside. For me, this is enjoying my bedroom and my writer’s corner (the dining room table). We all got that special spot or item that we can’t take with us. Even if I took my family’s dining room table, it wouldn’t feel the same.
How about you? Are you a commuter student or live in a dorm or on your own?