Day in the Life of a Commuter Student
Katherine O’Neil – STAFF WRITER
Most students at Assumption wake up at 9:15 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. class. They get up, get dressed, perhaps eat breakfast then walk five minutes to class. For commuters, the journey to class is a little more taxing.
Commuter student Jillian Bates ’21 of Marlborough wakes up at 8 a.m. for her 9:30 class. An entire hour and a half before the class even starts, Jillian begins preparing for the day. Including the commute home, it makes her day much longer than typical students on campus.
The average drive to campus for commuters is between 15-30 minutes, but some students travel every day from Rhode Island or Connecticut. For a small school, Assumption has more commuters than people may realize. According to the registrar, this academic year, 284 students commute, nearly 15 percent of the student body.
Bates lived on campus her freshman year, but decided to make the switch this semester.
“I did not like living at school and feeling isolated and looking for things to fill my time. I don’t like school being my whole life and wanted the freedom to do other things outside of school,” said Jillian.
Jillian lives roughly 25 minutes from campus. It is not a long commute, but it is just long enough so that she does not have the luxury of stopping back home if she forgot something, or popping home for a quick nap between classes.
Her choice to commute to Assumption was something Jillian thought about when arranging her schedule for this semester. She made sure to register only for classes that were scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Although that sounds convenient, it also means that she has five classes in one day, three days a week, which is a lot of work.
Alyssa Saunders ’22, also from Marlborough, is among the 284 commuters. Saunders knew right from the beginning that she did not plan to live on campus.
“By commuting, I am able to work, see my younger sister and not have to worry about living with someone else,” said Alyssa.
Saunders takes classes every weekday but spends her time on the weekends working at a local restaurant.
“I waitress a few nights a week and over the weekend. All of the shifts I work start at 4:30, so I just made sure that my classes end at least an hour before,” said Saunders.
Although not choosing to live on campus, Saunders still has the option for a meal plan and enjoys eating meals with her fellow classmates.
Why would someone choose to commute instead of live on campus?
“Lots of reasons, a few are because I needed to be able to work, I wanted to be home and be with my younger sister, it is cheaper and I am kind of a neat freak and like things a certain way,” says Saunders.
While commuting to Assumption has some advantages, there are some challenges, such as the lack of parking for commuters.
Each day when she arrives on campus, Bates feels her options are limited to either 10 spaces next to La Maison or the same amount in the Testa lot. Unfortunately, other commuters sometimes occupy those spots.
“When there are events on campus there is pretty much no parking and people have to park in random spots that are not commuter spaces,” said Bates.
According to the Department of Public Safety, there are 26 spots designated on campus for commuters; the remaining 258 commuters vie for spots in the Upper Chapel and Plourde Lots. On days upon which significant campus events take place, commuters are permitted to park in “red” parking areas. Seeing as commuters arrive and leave campus at different times each day, the turnover is big enough where commuter parking has not been a campus wide challenge, but Public Safety is working with SGA to address parking issues.
Although commuting students may not live on campus, neither Saunders nor Bates feel left out of the Assumption community.
Both students note that the amount of campus events and activities make it possible for them to stay involved if they want, stating that neither of them have met anyone who has cared that they commute. As long as they can dedicate the time, a campus residence does not matter.
“I have joined lots of clubs and activities so I feel like a part of the school even though I am not living there,” said Saunders.
Katherine O’Neil, a senior, studies English. She is a staff writer for Le Provocateur.