Walking across Loyola’s campus on a beautiful day, you’re bound to see many familiar and not-yet-familiar faces.
But even for those faces you recognize, the mystery of the characters behind them remains: their backgrounds, their goals, their pet peeves, their struggles, their ambitions.
When I walk across campus, I wave hello and engage with my professors and fellow students, and I can’t help but wonder how many of them know…
I’m a commuter student.
Commuter students aren’t all that different from resident students at Loyola… but there are a few key things that make my day and my routine a unique experience.
And it occurred to me recently that because we are a small population at Loyola, many of my fellow students have no idea of what the commuting experience is like. So I’m here to tell you.
When you commute, you live in two worlds: Loyola and the college campus, and “the real world,” which surrounds your home life.
Each morning, I get up before dawn, have breakfast, and rush to the car in hopes of conquering the traffic on Charles Street and escaping the winter cold (this time of year) in order to arrive on time to campus and get to class, where I’m once again surrounded by friends, classmates, and exceptional educators.
Commuting is different indeed, but not without its benefits.
Each night I enjoy the comfort of my bed, delicious home-cooked meals, and the relief of unnecessary stress.
I have access to laundry at all hours of the day and never worry about parking.
I don’t have to share a room with anyone whose tidiness or snoring habits impede my own preferences.
I am able to compartmentalize my schoolwork and class responsibilities, my social life, and my family life, which works well for me.
And while waking up in the middle of the night to evacuate for a cursed fire drill may not be the worst thing that ever happens, I’m happy to miss it.
Aside from occasional issues with university transportation, the commuter experience is as terrific as one may imagine. There are ample spaces on campus for me to study, snooze, read, and socialize before, between, and after classes. And because Loyola makes a point of integrating commuter students in the Messina experience, I made lasting social connections as a first-year student with students who live on campus, so I feel as much as any other that I belong here.