BY KIMBERLY BENNETT
I’m not going to lie; commuting every day to McKendree to attend classes really sucks. As much as I enjoy McKendree University as a school, sometimes—driving to campus can be such a drag. There are times I don’t feel like coming to campus for only two classes during the day. There are events I am required to go to at night for class credit, making me have to stay on campus for 8+ hours because it’s pointless to go home only to come back two or three hours later. Sometimes, especially during the snow and ice storms this year, I couldn’t attend class because I was snowed/iced in. What’s worse? Driving through road construction or having to find an alternate route due to road construction is a pain in the….you get the idea.
With all of the road construction Lebanon has done in the last two years, I had honestly considered living on campus in order to avoid being late for class or waking up an extra hour early in order to avoid traffic during road construction season. Call me paranoid, but when my brother does not drop me off at school, I normally arrive on campus about 7:30 AM so I can grab myself a decent parking space behind Voigt—even when my first class of the day might not start until 10 AM.
My first year at McKendree was miserable! Trying to figure out how the college life works without a place to go to during free time was not the best of my college days—especially when I had a five hour break between my classes. Luckily, I learned my lesson and figured out how to manage my time better. The more friends I made, the more I didn’t worry about ‘what to do’ or ‘where to go.’ I found my hang-out place—it took some time, but I eventually adapted to the college life, and going to school became easier once I figured out what I could be doing during my spare time. All of these things make commuting to McKendree a challenge, and I’m sure I’m not the only commuter who has experienced at least some of these frustrations. However, if I had a choice between living on campus or commuting to McKendree, I would much rather commute for obvious reasons: cheaper tuition/ location and privacy.
We all know McKendree is not the cheapest university to attend, but it is, in my opinion, one of the most respected campuses in the Metro East area of Illinois and Missouri. When people ask me why I chose McKendree, most of my decision had everything to do with location. First of all, I am not a large-crowd/city kind of person so I knew any school within St. Louis (or any other major city) was not an option. I know I might be laughed at because of my opinion, but at the time I started college, I legitimately had a fear of driving on the interstate. It wasn’t until my sophomore year when I was forced to drive on the interstate by myself because of Floodmaggeddon season. Even now, driving on the interstate brings chills to my bones. Anyway, because I live six miles away from McKendree University, I thought it would be easier on my wallet (and my parents’ wallets) if I commuted because living on campus, this year, is about $4,000 more than commuting.
Another reason I prefer commuting over living on campus is privacy. For the most part, I am a very private person. I’ll admit, I have trust issues and a case of paranoia I’m still trying to overcome. I thought the idea of a roommate would be fun, but after my brother and sister’s roommate experiences, I figured it would be best not to repeat trends within the Bennett family. The plan was for me to commute for two years, and then live on campus for two years. However, after all of the roommate drama my siblings went / are still going through, my parents asked me if I really wanted to live on campus for my third and fourth years at McKendree, and I quickly said no. I’m not saying all roommates are spawns of hell, and that people should avoid them as much as possible. No. I know there are people out there with GREAT roommate experiences, and that’s wonderful! But, because I am such an introvert (not so much now than before), I know for a fact that the whole roommate experience isn’t for me. I like my privacy, and can work on homework in my bedroom without interruptions (for the most part).
Emily Lucia, fourth year student, commutes every day from Highland, Illinois. I asked her what she thinks about commuting, and she said, “It’s nice because I have time to think on the drive to school and I like the idea that I don’t have to worry about roommate issues or 3 AM fire drills. Also, the amount of money I save is fantastic!”
Some of you might think commuters have it easy because we have homes to go home to every night, but we honestly don’t. I like attending classes, and literally freak out if I have to miss a class. We all know making up work or even tests is a nightmare. When McKendree decides not to close due to inclement weather, commuters have to make difficult decisions like if it is even worth coming in to school?
While we have homes within the 30 mile radius, we are vagabonds at school. We don’t have beds to nap on during a break between classes. We don’t have places to leave our heavy computers (well, at least my laptop is heavy) while attending classes. Yes, we have cars that we ‘could’ take naps in or switch out books, but with back-to-back classes and parking spots all the way in China, it’s almost not worth the time to go back to our cars between breaks. Also, with the amount of car thefts that happen around campus, I hardly feel safe leaving my laptop or my books inside my car.
Commuting to school every day may be a drag at times, but having home-cooked meals waiting for me every night makes it worth it.