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Despite being a senior, this is my first semester as an Arcadia “commuter.” Last year, a few friends and I decided to take a step toward adulthood and rent our first apartment. While exciting, the move was quite hard for me to come to terms with, as I had thoroughly enjoyed my first three years living on campus.
Being a commuter has been great so far, but I have noticed a significant change in how I structure my days and in the amount of time I spend on campus. During my first three years on campus, getting involved was easy. Since I was always at Arcadia, I never really had to search for opportunities or things to do. When I was a first-year student living it up in Kistler Hall, people would walk down the hallway, knock on my door, and ask “Want to go to the volleyball game in five?” or “Let’s go to the Chat before it closes, we have extra meal swipes!”
I used to goof around in my dorm or hang out with my friends on Tuesday nights at Arcadia, but now I won’t be on campus on a Tuesday night unless I have to be. I’ve had to adjust to waking up more than five minutes before my classes, packing my own lunches, and parking all the way up at Murphy because the lots near Taylor are full. First-world problems, for sure, but it’s been a significant change for me and my academic lifestyle.
The good news: I’ve learned there’s lots of ways commuters can be involved on campus! My friend, Molly Naylor ’20, makes a 40-minute commute to school each day, yet plays lacrosse, works in the Kuch Center, is an Arcadia ambassador, and was a summer orientation leader. On the flipside, Ashley Donlin ’20 only has a 10-minute commute, but manages to stay involved as an Arcadia ambassador, president of Arcadia’s American Chemical Society, a lab assistant for the Biology Department, and a member of the Knight Leadership program, Pre-Health club, Knight club, Biology club, and Puro Ritmo.
For me, the key to staying active as a commuter is putting yourself out there and going to events. I’m even more inclined to visit campus now, and it feels a bit more special when I spend an hour or so outside of class at Arcadia. I recently attended an Arcadia play, supported my friends at their senior field hockey night, and attended Business Career Night hosted by the Office of Career Education.
I think it is important for us, as Arcadians, to understand the lifestyle of commuting students, and for residents on campus to do their best to help commuters feel at home on campus. As for commuters: Do not let the fear of not knowing someone keep you from doing something you are interested in. Be proactive and reach out to your peers. Not being around 24/7 does not mean you are missing out on the “college experience”— take it from someone who has experienced both lifestyles.