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Commuter vs. Resident: The College Student Experience

Tom Falite outside of the Commuter Lounge

By Ashley Falite and Olivia Haddad

Many people might ask “What is the college experience like at Merrimack?” The answer to this question may vary depending on who you might ask. A big factor of this question is whether the student commutes from home or lives on campus.

Merrimack college is a place with new activities and events happening daily. There are dozens of clubs, organizations and sports teams to be a part of. Besides all the planned and organized activities at the college, there is also the social aspect of making friends and feeling comfortable on campus.

For many students this connection stems from the relationships they make in residence halls on campus.“ I always saw my residents interacting with each other positively each day,” Residence Assistant Senior Syandene Inniss said.

Inniss shared that she personally felt that living on campus was a great way to build connections with other students and even network.

Working with students in their residence halls and being a person residents can go to with questions and concerns is Syandene’s main role on campus. Syandene shared that another duty of her job is to encourage residents in the hall to interact with each other by hosting activities and planned events.

As a student herself, Syandene knows from first hand experience how crucial making connections on campus is to a positive college experience.“Living on campus has been a positive experience for me because it pushed me to advocate for myself,” Inniss stated. With that being said Inniss shows how living on campus can have its benefits by giving students the oppurtunity to make connections outside of the classroom.

Many students on the other hand decide to commute to campus versus living in a residence hall. This can change the college experience in some ways whether they may be positive or negative.

“I feel like it’s definitely more difficult to make friends and harder to get involved on campus when you’re not living there. As a commuter I am not on campus every day and for as much time as resident students,” Merrimack Junior Tom Falite said.

Falite mentioned that managing the time it takes to drive to class can also be a downside. “I have to leave extra early for my classes and make sure I have enough time to drive, park, and walk to class on time. I think it would definitely be more convenient to live right on campus and have a much shorter commute,” he said.

Aside from the few downfalls, Falite has felt welcomed onto campus and still finds ways to get involved. He has been a part of Merrimack Radio (WMCK), and this year began writing for the Beacon. Through these things he has met friends and enjoyed going to school events such as Homecoming and Augies on Thursday nights.

Falite feels as though Merrimack has enough resources available for commuter students. “The commuter lounge is a nice place to meet other commuters and for us to have a space to be comfortable between classes or just to get work done…they’ve done a good job making students feel at home. The options to get involved are there for commuters, and it’s up to them whether or not they want to pursue them,” he said.

Living as a resident on campus definitely has its perks. However students like Tom can still feel connected even as a commuter. Merrimack offers the commuter lounge, new events each week, as well as commuter advisors to add to the commuter experience.

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