The gas meter slowly rises; the pump remains in the tank. Only forty-five minutes to go until junior Hailey Leslie reaches campus.
For myself, the longest distance to my furthest class is a six-minute walk from my residence hall. Living on a smaller college campus makes the fifteen blocks I had to walk home during high school, feel endless.
Living off campus can ultimately be cheaper if the student lives with family because it takes away the residence hall bill as well as the meal plan.
Another way students are cutting costs nowadays is by living in nearby off-campus facilities with multiple roommates.
With the cost of college at an all time high, this solution seems feasible. But when students start deciding to live more than thirty minutes away from campus, the commute becomes daunting. The main question being, is it worth it?
Leslie remembers living on campus for two months her freshman year.
“ I decided that I didn’t like it and that it would be so much cheaper to live at home,” Leslie said. “I save a ton of money living off campus [but] my school and personal life are separate.”
Despite the pros to living at home, the cons list isn’t far behind. Spending around forty dollars a week on gas, Leslie makes the trek to and from school twice a day, sometimes more for sorority events.
The late night occasions and events aren’t always accessible because other factors play into it as well. How busy was the day? How much money is there left for gas? How many trips to and from school were already made that day?
“It is very hard to hangout with friends since I can’t just go to their room whenever I feel like and I don’t really know what’s [happening] on campus because I don’t have the connection to find out,” Leslie said. “It makes me feel like I am not a part of the Pacific community.”
And the farther away the home is, the more frequent these issues will appear. No one wants their personal life and college experience to be dependent upon their long commutes to home if the student has a busy schedule.
Another student, freshman Kemmis Johnson, keeps the cost of school down by living at home with only a five-minute commute.
As far as Johnson goes, he hasn’t encountered these issues. When thinking about the difficulty of driving back and forth to school, he deems it easy and said, “I can try to plan my schedule accordingly.” Keeping the cost of living down as well as lowering the money spent on food, is a must for Johnson; and it seems to be working.
Climbing up the ladder to year four, senior Seth Siddle-Mitchell claims that living off campus is definitely worth it if the house isn’t too far away. He currently shares a home with two roommates within walking distance from Pacific, and has lived off campus since his junior year. He favors the independent style of living and couldn’t imagine ever going back to the dorms.
“I pay about 450 dollars a month total including rent, utilities, cable, and Internet,” Siddle-Mitchell said. “You have freedom from CPS, RAs, neighbors and public bathrooms. It’s an adult lifestyle with added responsibilities, but without a doubt worth it.”
For me, I hope to live with roommates in a nearby facility my junior year. Personally, I think the longer commutes to college are not beneficial to students.
Not only would the tiresome drives take away from the full-time college experience, it would burn the unnecessary hole in the pocket that the student is trying to patch up.
Yes, living in a residence hall and having a meal plan can ultimately be more expensive, but is living too far away having the opposite outcome of the issue at hand?
In the end, being too far separated from the Pacific community, can often make students feel somewhat isolated; wasting countless minutes and dollars by spending a good chunk of their day driving.
After a while, does the money end up out weighing the distance?