Freshman Year; A Commuter Perspective


Matthew Demers, Writer

The first few weeks of freshman year are a time of surprises and challenges. All at once, you’re faced with near-infinite opportunities, significant amounts of work, and more faces and names than you can ever hope to remember. The stiff, structured regiments of high school are thrown out the window, and in their place rise the flexible, varied, and admittedly sometimes confusing routines of a college student. And yet, while just about everyone can probably identify with a majority of the characteristics I’ve mentioned above, every student has their own unique experiences that make their experience different from everyone else’s.

One of the first things that I’ve noticed since I’ve started classes was, surprisingly, how much free time I now have on my hands. Even while holding a part-time job, taking classes and completing homework, being part of three clubs, and fulfilling any other responsibilities I have an enormous amount of time on my hands. Even having a forty-minute drive as a commuter hasn’t seemed to make a dent in it. Now, what exactly to do with this time, I haven’t exactly figured out, but it’s a far cry from the lack of free time I felt I had during high school.

Speaking of being a commuter, one of the more surprising aspects of my college experience has been how accepting the student body is of us. One of my biggest concerns about being a commuter was, putting it quite simply, isolation. Living off-campus, I was afraid I’d miss a lot of events and activities, and have a hard time meeting new people and making friends. But, as I’ve come to discover, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The school itself encourages this, in giving commuters virtually the exact same privileges that any resident student would have. As for the student body, they’ve been incredibly welcoming, and despite being a commuter, I don’t feel the difference at all. 

Finally, one of the best things I could name about college so far is just how much can happen in such a short span of time. From clubs, classes, and intramurals, to a plethora of various activities, speakers, and events, college has given me more possibilities than high school ever gave me. I’ve gone to an insane football game, seen a comedian bring the house down, and listened to a former president speak. But beyond all of these, are the informal things I’ve had the pleasure of doing, be it tossing a frisbee with friends at night, to walking with people in the woods, to dying from laughter over a curly fry. It’s these, and countless other moments that have made these first few weeks so very special to me.

College, as I’ve quickly learned, is odd. Regardless of who you are, and what your experience is, it’s unique brand of weirdness and absurdity will find its way into your life. And, while I hardly qualify as a person to be giving advice, here’s what I would say: embrace that weirdness. It’s what has made my college experience so far absolutely amazing, and my guess is, it will make your’s just as incredible too.