Commuters Open Up: The Trek to FDU

By Cindy (Binh) Nguyen
Layout & Design Editor

Imagine college move-in day: unloading the rented microwave and minifridge, unpacking extra-heavy baggage, picking up the swipe card, and meeting your roommate.

For those who have dreamed about and maybe even dreaded for 18 years, moving into the dorm may appear to be much more sweltering and overwhelming than one would expect. But for those that commute to class, that classic college introduction doesn’t happen.

Sara Perez, now a commuter at Fairleigh Dickinson University, recalled her hectic first day as a resident in her freshman year.

“I miss all the chaos, all the unpacking, the first Game Knight, the first soccer match I went to on campus, the first dorm meeting that I really thought was mandatory,” Perez said.

Perez feels bad for her commuter friends who never had a chance to experience the real college life.

Even though commuters make up a majority at FDU Metropolitan, living in dormitories enables students to engage in activities and organizations on campus. As most events at FDU take place in the evening, many commuters who have morning and afternoon classes are hesitant to participate.

Patricia Ressell-Deras, a commuter from Nutley and staffer on The Equinox, admitted that her involvement has dropped since she started to commute this semester.

“There is simply no reason for me to stay on campus until 8 p.m. when my class is done at 2 p.m,” Ressell-Deras said. “And don’t let me start about the whole Commuters’ Breakfast at 7 a.m. thing.”

Ressell-Deras believes that FDU should make changes to current programs that cater to commuters to get them more involved.

“The first thing that can be upgraded is the Commuters’ Lounge,” Ressell-Deras said.

Commuter and former staffer on The Equinox, Cindy Myo-Jung Kim from Fort Lee had a different opinion.

“It all depends on how much the students want to dedicate their time to be active on campus,” Kim said.

One of the perks of living outside of campus is the ability to stay in the comfort of home. Commuter students can practice home-cooking, decorate the room, organize the living space the way they want to.

“Living at home means being in an environment that I am comfortable with,” Perez said. “Plus, you don’t have to deal with a roommate that’s rude or doesn’t know how to clean up herself.”

Commuting also allows students to cut down on expenses. There are multiple options for a commuter to save money such as purchasing a monthly pass to choosing an economy efficient car to save on gas.

“I am lucky because my car is fuel-efficient and I have a Costco gas station near my house that has gas at a much lower price, about 25-27 dollars for a full tank of regular gas which lasts about 2 weeks,” Ressell-Deras said. “So I am spending less than a hundred a month to keep my car running.”

Lodging off-campus also works out well for Truc Pham, an international student who started to commute this semester. With an apartment only half a mile from the campus, she could walk to classes every day and save up on gas as well as impulsive purchases at 7Eleven stores on the way. However, Pham is worried about the next semester when her schedule is tighter.

“As I don’t drive, it will be more difficult to maneuver on and off-campus,” Pham said.

Commuter and staffer on The Equinox,  Amaya Morales stressed that having a car is a must.

“Long days on campus could be tiring and demotivating, especially if you have to wait for the 9 p.m. bus to get home.” Morales said.

Commuting can be difficult at times, but it can be a great experience and a great opportunity to become more organized and better with time-management.