The Case for Commuting

To commute or not commute? That was the question that I kept asking myself before deciding which university I would attend. I finally chose UCI since it was closer to home and also because I decided to commute — at least for my first year. My parents were thrilled because I would get to stay at home with them.
I was having mixed feelings because I wanted to experience dorm life and how it would feel to be away from home. My first week, I really did not like commuting as there were so many events on campus that I felt I missed out on. Eventually though, I have started to like commuting and I definitely prefer it to dorming. Living in Irvine, it is a maximum 20 minute commute from my house to campus. That being said, there are a few myths about commuting that I would like to eliminate.
Myth 1: You cannot get involved on campus.
WRONG. You most certainly can! I am a part of two organizations on campus — a copy intern for the New University and a volunteer at the Cross-Cultural Center. Even though I am a commuter, I am able to manage
Myth 2: Commuting doesn’t let you socialize.
NOT true. I have met quite a few people on campus. It’s honestly all up to you — if you are willing to make the effort then anything is possible. I visit all my friends in their dorms to spend time with them.
Myth 3: Commuting is so time consuming that it doesn’t leave time for anything else.
NO. If you plan your commute and work your schedule around, then commuting is possible. I use the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) to get to campus and I have found ways to work my schedule around the timings of the OCTA. Also, with the help of the Transportation Office on campus I have worked out which buses I can take to get home.
After a long day at college, it is blissful to come back home to your family and not worry about where to get food, what groceries to buy, what to cook, etc. Commuting also helps you save a lot of money in terms of food, laundry, housing fees and so much more.
Also, I have quite a few friends at UCI who are dorming and tell me how much they miss home, so I invite them over too! It goes both ways, where I spend time in their dorm and they get to come to my home and enjoy some home-cooked food.
I prefer commuting because I don’t have to worry about paying for laundry, I get home cooked meals and I can stay with family. For me, commuting has showed me the best of both worlds because I get to stay actively involved on campus and also get to go back home to my family. If at all possible, I would definitely recommend commuting because it is worth it.

Janani Venkateswaran is a first-year psychology and social behavior major. She can be reached at jvenkate@uci.edu.