Commuter students experience the best of both worlds

In one of the many hidden corners of Brower Student Center, you can find the home of the Off-Campus Student Organization (OCSO). The small lounge, equipped with a computer, television, microwave, refrigerator and plenty of seating space is home away from home for the College’s commuter students.

On any given weekday, you’re likely to find at least a handful of students in the OCSO lounge, getting work done or killing time between classes. Dan Hoffman, senior computer science major, said he is one of the lounge regulars.

While a great portion of the College’s students live on campus, some students choose to live at home and commute to school. The reasons why students choose to commute vary, but for Hoffman, it was a combination of reasons.

“It’s a lot cheaper to commute than to stay on campus,” Hoffman said. “It’s about half the price, not to mention still having the liberties I had at home, like being able to drive my car.”

Hoffman, who lives in Hamilton, has made the 25-minute commute to campus all his years at the College. He has always tried to keep his classess on the same days, so that he’d only have to come to campus three or four times a week. This year, he spends four days on campus – days that last anywhere from five to seven hours.

In order to make his day work for him, Hoffman tries to schedule his classes for the late morning and early afternoon.

“I like my classes early, but not too early because I have to drive to campus,” Hoffman said. “Eight a.m. classes were way too early.”

Although it might seem that a commuter student would want all of his or her classes in a row so he or she could go home as fast as possible, Hoffman said in the past couple of years he has begun to appreciate having free time in between classes.

“I used to cram all my classes together until the OCSO lounge was built a couple years ago,” Hoffman said.

Now Hoffman enjoys relaxing in between his classes. He can eat lunch, watch TV or play a card game in the OCSO lounge when he has a free minute. According to Hoffman, OCSO has helped make his life as a commuter easier.

“This organization does a lot of good work with events and it helps keep students updated about events on campus,” he said.

In fact, Hoffman even gives OCSO credit for introducing him to a lot of his current friends. Although he does have some friends who live on campus, most of his friends are commuters who he met in the OCSO lounge.

After four years at the College, Hoffman has no major complaints about his life as a commuter. The biggest problem he faces is dealing with parking issues.

“There have been a lot of problems with the construction of the new parking deck and some commuters feel that the issue has been ignored when it is really a prevalent problem,” Hoffman said.

Otherwise, Hoffman said he is satisfied with the way the College looks out for its commuter students. For example, he feels that it does an effective job in reporting school closings.

“There was one time when I got to the College and it was closed,” Hoffman said. “But that was only one time in four years, so I think the system is functional enough.”

While some people may think that the only way to get the “real college experience” is to live on campus, Hoffman said that all it took to help him match that experience was to put in some extra effort.

“Maybe I missed out of living in the dorms, but I was able to come and hang out with my friends that lived on campus,” he said, “Sometimes I do feel like I missed out on some of the experience, but with a little effort on my part, I was able to gap that.”