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OPINION: The Pros and Cons of Going From a Residential to Commuter Student

Nicole Fasciano

Associate Editor

When I found myself embarking on my college journey about two and a half years ago, I anticipated facing changes and adapting to new environments. But I never anticipated that my college experience would require developing an entirely new routine when I became a commuter student.

I started my college experience as a residential student, and I was enthralled by the idea of living in a dorm, meeting my roommate, and getting to know new people. I got to know campus in a different light, and got to know the pre-Covid Merrimack College experience.

Since the pandemic started a year ago, things look a lot different for everyone in regards to their normal patterns and everyday lifestyles. One change for me is the change from being a residential student to a commuter student for the spring 2021 semester. At first, I pondered whether this was truly the best fit for me. Since then I have come to realize it is.

There are drawbacks that come with commuting, such as missing your friends or saving gas money, but there are many positives as well.  

First, my ability to make my own food at home and get creative with cooking and baking again is a great change. I also like being able to spend more time with my family. Additionally, being able to be around my pets has been a huge stress reliever and has brought me much comfort during this hectic time. I have also been able to reintroduce positive habits into my life that I established during our “quarantine” period last March. Some of these habits include reading, outdoor walks, meditation/yoga, and journaling.

Generally speaking, I wouldn’t say there have been a vast amount of changes in switching my living status, other than the obvious: where I live. With having in-person classes, and a fluid schedule with other commitments, commuting hasn’t been the most ideal when it comes to easy travel time. However, something I have come to love and appreciate about this new change has been the ability to maintain some form of normalcy by being in the comfort of my own home.

I believe, at times, we make plans in our minds in hopes to get some clarity about what’s to come. I believe that many would agree that being able to overcome a transformation is now a key characteristic many hope to find within themselves. The transition from a residential student to now commuting from home has been a big lifestyle change, as is to be expected. Nevertheless, I’m glad I can overcome and adjust to the negatives while focusing on the positives of my new student status.