Commuter Students Feel the Pressure: Ways to Balance Life as a Commuter

Photo courtesy/ It is harder for students who commute to get to their classes.

By Angalyse Keyock

Staff Writer

What do you think your average college student is doing on any given night on campus? Heading to a bar or party? Spending some time in one of your friends dorms hanging out?

For an increasing number of undergraduate students attending ESU, this college experience is dynamically different.

That’s particularly true of the growing number of students who don’t just carry a full load of courses but also commute to campus and hold part-time jobs. The stigma that the typical college student is true for a great amount of students, but for the others it is seriously outdated.

According to ESU, more than 60 percent of it’s undergraduate students are commuters.

Kristen Leili, a sophomore ESU Hotel and Tourism Management major, is one of them. Balancing 18 credits, two part-time jobs, and a 50 minute commute, Leili talks about her busy schedule and how it has “actually helped me become more organized with my days.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics a study released in August 2017 said between the ages of 16- 24 employed youth increased from 1.9 to 20.9 million in just three months.

According to National Center for Educational Statistics, 41 percent of students attending a four-year public institution work a part-time job.

Leili said that she currently works at her high school as a lifeguard and swim instructor working around 15-16 hours of week. Leili explains that the way she schedules her life between work school and the other stressors gives her little free time in between.

She schedules her classes on a Tuesday/Thursday along with a few online classes, which allow her to have a four-day weekend, plus Wednesday to fit in the hassle of studying, writing papers or earning money. Advisors are very accommodating to the commuter student in molding a schedule that will work best for them, and their gas tank.

“I use an agenda book to keep track of many assignments, my work schedule, and when I will be able to do an assignment. It has made me more organized,” said Leili. .

Catherine Kluge ESU sophomore Sociology major commutes from Wind Gap, six days a week to attend class and club meetings on campus, while balancing a part-time job at Target 22 hours a week.

“I was nervous I was missing the college experience but that’s why I’m involved so much on campus, “ said Catherine while explaining how she wishes she live closer to campus.

She is currently apart of Phi Sigma Pi, the national honors fraternity, as well as vice president of the Active Minds student organization. Many commuter students struggle to balance this work, social life, and school balance. Often students spend their Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights not at the bar, but earning money or working on an assignment due the upcoming week.

At times students feel that there are not enough hours in the day to be a good employee as a well as receiving  good grades. Being organized and smart with your time is something all commuters and working college students have in common. Developing this strategy from the start will help you be successful.

Professors will be understanding if you are late a few times because of traffic or can’t attend an outside event because of work. Communicating is the best way to establish a healthy relationship for the semester .

As time goes on, more and more full time undergraduate students begin to work, and put more on their work load. Giving yourself some free time is essential with the stress that comes with life.

The stigma that has been developed of the typical college student may be true of the undergraduate non-working student, but not the undergraduate, full-time, working and commuting student that is being seen more and more on college campuses.

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