I will be living off campus during my final year at Nyack College. Thankfully, my grandparents, who live within a reasonable distance of Nyack, have opened their doors to me for the next two semesters. Over the summer I acquired a car, which makes transportation between the house and the school possible. I also have a job off campus in addition to my job at the Writing Center on campus, which would not have been possible while I was still living in Moseley or Dunbar. I have not lived, worked, and gone to school in my current living situation for enough time to give an educated synopsis of the positives and negatives of being a commuter, but my speculations and my brief one-week stint of being a commuting student make for good insight into the life of someone who lives off campus.
My primary reason for choosing to live off campus is to save money while I finished my degree. Before making this decision final, though, I had to consider whether or not the amount of money I was going to save outweighed the experiences and accommodations that I would miss out on by not living on campus. I would have to give up things like wandering over to friends’ rooms when boredom strikes and being within walking distance of classrooms and the library. I would have to spend less time with my friends in order to avoid paying for room and board. It was a hard decision, but I decided that the perks of living on campus were not worth turning down a more affordable option. That means that this year I will have to put more of a conscious and intentional effort into spending time with my friends, which I am very willing to do.
My secondary reason for becoming a commuter was to make money. By taking only twelve credits, six of which consist of two independent studies, I have made my schedule more free: I only need to be on campus in Nyack three days a week. If I had two weekdays and a whole weekend of nothing but rest, I would not know what to do with myself. So, I went out and found another job. In addition to working in the Writing Center at Nyack College, I also work at a medical office on the days that I am not on campus. This gives me something to do with the time that I am not in class, and the extra paycheck adds to the positive effect of saving money on room and board.
Living off campus is both a privilege and a sacrifice. I am granted more freedom and I benefit financially, but I suffer socially in that I am less frequently surrounded by the people, activities, and fun of Nyack’s residential life. It remains to be seen whether or not the outcome will be truly worth the sacrifice. I hope and pray that I will be able to maintain closeness with my friends on campus even though I will not be as close to them physically.