Recently, a PI Girl asked if it’s worth carpooling/commuting to college or if it’s better to live on or near campus. Each college is different, and every situation varies per person in what you are able to do financially. If you live close to your college, then you can just drive there, even if it’s an hour or so away. Living on campus has its ups and downs, such as the benefit of sleeping in later and the luxury of walking to class, but then sharing a room with someone can be challenging, too. They both have pros and cons.
Below are some of your options with their benefits and struggles, and I also wrote the benefits or “pros” of your two main options for commuting or living on campus.
OPTION #1: COMMUTING
I personally commuted to my university and decided to schedule classes only two out of the five days in the week. I really didn’t mind commuting, and plus, I was a transfer. If I had started from my freshman year in college, I probably would have been more willing to live on campus, but I felt driving to school was the best option for me. Commuting can be costly with gas, but what will save you time and money on gas is scheduling fewer classes on weekdays (like two days a week).
It’s also important to schedule your class times before and after rush hour traffic. I typically would do 11 a.m.-9 p.m. days and schedule a break or two in for lunch or coffee. Again, some people want to go to class daily or live closer, so it’s up to you! Another factor will be the classes you need and what days they are on. If all your classes are five days a week on different days, you may want to just live close to campus for the year or for your college career.
Commuting can be challenging at times because you have to factor in your driving times, the gas money, the miles and even parking prior to class—which takes time to circle for a spot, if it’s difficult to park, and to walk. The benefit of commuting is having your own room and space and not having to share a dorm room. Another way you can be saving money is if you’re a commuter who still lives with your parents. This isn’t always the best option, as you do want to get out of the nest, but it’s an alternative way to save if you have to drive a distance to get to school.
OPTION #2: LIVE IN AN APARTMENT NEAR CAMPUS
If you have parents who are willing to help you get your own apartment, then I would suggest this, or if you make enough at your job, this is a great way to grow and learn. This also teaches you how to truly be an adult and to take full responsibility for your life, but every circumstance is different. Renting an apartment near campus can be pricey, and also with tuition and book expenses this can be hard, especially on a freshman or a sophomore student.
A benefit of renting near campus is having your own studio or room, unless you room with another girl, but usually you will end up having more space than a normal dorm room. You will find that you can save time and money by being closer to campus instead of commuting. Note: Some campuses may require you to live on campus for the first year, so check with your campus counselor. If you have a job already and are able to pay for your own apartment near your campus, that may be better for you because you may have more space and quiet time to study versus in a dorm.
OPTION #3: LIVE ON CAMPUS IN A DORM ROOM WITH A ROOMMATE
The most common living choice is probably living in the dorms and/or rooming with different college girls. This is a great way to meet new people at school, develop lifelong friendships and also be close to campus so you can really focus on your studies.
The downside of sharing a room is that you have less space, and you may have a hard time focusing/studying, since people may come in and out and/or may be loud at night or early in the morning. A bonus is that you can sleep in later and you can walk to class from your room.
The Pros of Living on Campus:
1. You are within walking distance of classes.
2. Save time and money driving and parking.
3. You can sleep in later.
4. Create community and really be a part of the campus experience.
5. Make friends for life in your dorm.
The Pros of Commuting:
1. Save money by not paying high dorm room costs.
2. Have more downtime and quiet study time (fewer distractions).
3. Have a break from college and create your own schedule (independence).
4. You don’t have to share a room or space.
5. Join a commuter club for community or find ways to still be a part of college, like a Christian group or Bible Study.
Again, PI girls, every person has a different life and may have unique circumstances surrounding their college experience, so just pray about what God wants you to do. There is no right or wrong answer or set way to live out your college experience. Outside of prayer, if you need help, make sure to ask your parents or guardians for advice, your youth leader or even your campus counselor. Good luck, PI Girls! I believe in you!
PI Girls, what situation best suits you? What have you done or what do you plan on doing when attending college? Comment below!