Commuter Corner: My days and dollars are numbered

The author of Commuter Corner talks about the struggles of picking classes for commuter students. Commuting may save in money, but it adds up in time. (Katy/Creative Commons)

The author of Commuter Corner talks about the struggles of picking classes for commuter students. Commuting may save in money, but it adds up in time. (Katy/Creative Commons)

Under normal circumstances, there are a lot of things to consider when thinking about a new year of classes. I see the resident struggles with the housing search, and am definitely glad I know where I’ll be sleeping come fall. Still, there are some interesting predicaments we commuters have when choosing our schedules.

Of course, there will be residents who choose classes this way, just as there will be commuters who don’t, but I realized a few things during my first year at UConn. When it comes to picking classes, we all experience the usual “okay, what’s a requirement for my major, what classes are gen eds, which can I use towards my minor,” etc. As I go through this list and try to pick the best fits, I also keep in mind the days I go in. Ultimately, I want my schedule scrunched into two or three very long days.

The reason is simple: I drive 22 miles to UConn, and then 22 miles back for every day that I come here. I end up spending a pretty penny in gas money alone, but add in food, and the price steadily increases. In addition to that, I’m not a good driver and I’m not driving the best of cars. As they wear down, there’s another cost to consider. Although my main focus is on saving money (hence the commuting in the first place), the cost of time is climbing, too. Spending around 80 minutes driving per day that I’m in school takes away a lot of time I could be using otherwise. I would like to think it would be put to good use in a study session, but seeing friends or just resting would be other options.

Basically, if I can avoid driving too much, I’m golden. As I plan my classes, I have to turn down some good options simply because I need just the three days. It narrows down the search, so I guess that’s helpful, but it does make the process a bit harder. Well worth it, though. Having those two days home is a nice break between the full days. Compared to last fall, when I drove to UConn all five days, this semester is much nicer. No longer do I have to hit the gas station every other day, have meals at school for most of the week, and think about all the things I could be doing during that 40-minute drive instead of heading to a class that lasts just 10 minutes longer.

Why do I do this? Why not just live on campus? Why complain about the drive in the campus newspaper? If I commute, then I leave college with no debt. It seems easier to me right now to just give in and live on campus, but it will be easier for me when I leave if I don’t have massive student loans following me around.


Hannah Desrosiers is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at hannah.desrosiers@uconn.edu.