Coming up to the start of college, everyone will tell you to enjoy yourself. It’s the time of your life, the place where you’ll meet your future bridesmaids and create award winning hangover cures. Your college years are a time to discover yourself, get stuck into society life, make friends with similar interests and perfect that winning work/play combination. But what if all of your fun activities are overshadowed by the time of the last bus home? Speaking from experience, commuting 50 minutes to college each way, I can attest that commuting means you won’t have the same experiences as those who live on campus.
First of all, there are no spontaneous evening excursions. Nights out need to be planned out days, if not weeks, in advance. You need a place to crash, a bathroom to get ready in, several changes of clothes and bags to lug around. The effort that goes into the planning is sometimes so exhausting that you begin to question whether it’s worth it at all, but the FOMO always wins out.
Society life is lumped into the same situation. You can’t truly immerse yourself, as many society events take place in the evening and you would only be able to attend moments before having to leg it to the bus stop.
Final year Irish and Media student, Lara McGrath has commuted to college for the past two years and knows the struggle better than anyone. “It makes social life difficult because you have to organise everything around travel. I think if I didn’t commute I would probably take part in societies more,” she stated.
Thus far, commuting has been painted in a very negative light. Believe it or not, there are some positives to travelling. Most obvious is the money you save. It’s true that bus and train fares are pricey, but the accommodation crisis in Dublin has meant that several students are forced to pay ridiculous rents in order to secure a dwelling near campus.
You will never go hungry either with the comforting thought that mammy’s dinner is waiting for you at home (microwave heated maybe, but still good nonetheless). There’s nothing better than having the support circle of your family and local amenities when you’re cramming for exams. Distractions and nights out are kept at bay, therefore aiding you in your studies.
There are both positives and negatives to the commuter lifestyle. Yes, living at home during college has its drawbacks but the sooner you accept the social hardships, the sooner you will learn there are cheats and shortcuts to everything. Make friends who live on campus, pack your lunches, don’t succumb to the overpriced unhealthy food and make an organised schedule that balances your studies and hobbies. Embrace your commute because after all, it might be the only break you get from the hectic student lifestyle.
Photo Credit: Laura Horan