by Molly Croce
NEWBURGH – Commuter students, students who do not live in university-owned housing, make up 86 percent of college and university students, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
This percentage includes students who live with their parents, part-time students, students who live in off-campus apartments, parents with children at home, and full-time workers.
Mount Saint Mary College (MSMC) commuters feel that there are many disadvantages to not living on campus.
Hunter Andrews, a commuter from Wallkill, drives 30 minutes one way to make it to MSMC each day.
“The drive is certainly a disadvantage depending on where you live,” said Andrews. “My morning commute can be filled with traffic, school buses, and other small issues that can add time to my travel.”
Kara Rogowski drives from Hopewell Junction each day. This drive requires her to cross the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge.
“My daily commute is stressful,” said Rogowski. “There has been roadwork on my route since I started attending MSMC last year. It is very frustrating when I am trying to get to class on time.”
The commute frustrates students when they need to meet with faculty or study groups.
Matt Lennon, a commuter from Montgomery, finds that coming back and forth from campus a few times a day can be annoying.
“If I want to meet with faculty, staff, or other students to study, I have to schedule a proper time to do so,” said Lennon. “I often find myself having to drive back and forth to campus which requires me to spend more money on gas.”
Due to the cost of travel to and from campus, many students have jobs outside of class.
“I am currently working two part time jobs to pay for my car and other living expenses,” stated Rogowski. “I believe that my assignments are compromised due to my lack of free time and this is hard because I know professors expect a lot out of students.”
A commuter’s amount of time spent on campus is much less than a resident.
“I usually just come to class and then leave when it’s finished,” said Lennon.
Due to this short period of time spent on campus, it is more difficult to create relationships with peers.
“MSMC is a small school, so most residents know other residents,” said Rogowski. “Also, I didn’t start here as a freshman and I find it very difficult to meet people who are open to meeting other people they aren’t already close with.”
Inclement weather can also have an impact on a student’s decision to travel to class.
“Inclement weather always makes me hesitant when considering making my drive to class,” said Rogowski. “Driving on the highway and seeing cars in the ditch on my way to and from class when it’s snowing is unsettling.”
Rogowski feel that there should be an option for commuters who choose to not come into class due to weather.
“There should be a video conference type of way to interact in the lecture when class isn’t cancelled,” she said. “I only say this so that I, along with my professors, don’t have to risk our lives trying to get to class.”
Some students also feel that the school should take commuter students into more consideration when closing the school due to severe weather.
“I remember taking a night class and the professor told us to come to class on this one particular night at our own risk,” said Andrews. “I decided to stay home since it was snowing and sleeting. I also feel that the school could close more often due to severe weather, which leaves the risky decision to go up to the students.”