Most students at the University of Houston don’t live on campus. In fact, around 85 percent commute every day to get to campus. I am in that 85 percent and I have been commuting for the last three years. Although I don’t mind commuting, it does have its pros and cons.
One of the good things is that I don’t have to deal with dorms or roommates. Campus dorms can be pretty expensive and not everyone can afford them. Besides, people barely fit in there. For a somewhat claustrophobic person, the thought of sharing a room with a complete stranger is not something that sounds appealing.
Another thing that I like about commuting is that you don’t have to eat on campus. Sure, sometimes when I’m feeling hungry I buy food, but for the most part I eat at home. Being a commuter has made me appreciate my mom’s food so much more, and not to mention how much money it’s saved me.
You also get to arrive to and leave campus whenever you please. I’ve sometimes only had to go to campus for one class, but I’ll try to make the most out of my trip by getting some work done in the library. This is especially helpful during midterms and finals because the library provides an ideal place to study. If I go home, I’ll probably just go straight to my bed.
Like everything, commuting also comes with its disadvantages.
One of the downsides is that you have to wake up earlier to get to class. Especially when you have an 8:30 a.m. class. I will usually wake up at 5:30 a.m., and leave around 6:45 a.m. to catch the bus. I try to study on the bus and you will probably always see me half-asleep with a textbook in my hand.
Which brings me to my next point. Transportation. As I said, I take the bus. Luckily, the bus route that I take stops in front of my apartments and stops by Cullen and Holman. My classrooms are never that far from that point. The only thing is that traffic combined with frequent bus stops, you can get easily irritated, but not more than the students that drive to campus. I’ve heard horror stories of students getting to campus quickly only to spend more time trying to find a parking space.
Another disadvantage is that I have not been that involved with campus life. UH has a variety of interesting clubs, but being a full-time student that commutes from somewhat far away, it’s hard. Most general meetings are after 6 p.m. and by that time I’m either riding the bus, or I’m home. My commuting time can range from 1 hour to 1.5 hours, so it’s important for me to get home and do what I need to do so that I am well-rested the next day.
In sum, commuting can be somewhat of a hassle, but it also has a good side. It can teach you how to be more independent and responsible without leaving the comfort of your home. But whether you commute or live on campus it’s important to remember that we are here to have a better future and that is worth any sacrifice.