By JOHN MARTIN
I have been a commuter at the University of Mary Washington for a little under two years since transferring from Germanna Community College. I believe it is a great experience to go through to help prepare yourself for the future and real world.
I love the fact that when classes are done for the day, I can return to my house and clear my mind completely from UMW and my classes. It allows me to remove myself from my work and relax during stressful days. I get to see my family all the time, which is a blessing and a curse.
While students who live on campus can just sit down and work on assignments, I have to plan out when and how I will complete each assignment. This can be quite difficult at times because my family does not know how much time it takes to write multiple page papers, finish all my readings and somehow relax within the time I am given. While I am at home, I have to lock myself in my room in order to keep my deadlines and due dates.
As a commuter, I do have to undergo the struggle and mind-numbing process of finding parking. Since all of my gen eds were completed at Germanna, I am just taking my English major courses. This means I spend all my time in Combs, so I have to park by the apartments and walk because there is no other parking nearby. Parking there has even become an issue because 23 spots were taken from that parking lot for campus residents. College Avenue is an option, but with so many non-commuters parking there it is almost impossible to find a spot. However, driving to UMW is quite pleasant, I get to spend my 35-minute drive just relaxing and mentally preparing for my day.
One of my favorite and least favorite elements of being a commuter is the waiting around for classes. For the past two semesters, I sit in the lobby of Combs for three hours straight while waiting for my classes to begin. I am forced to do this because I don’t want to lose my parking, I have no personal place to go, and with the fluctuating temperatures and weather outside is not the best option. I do have to admit, by having this huge gap in time, I have been able to keep up with all my favorite shows because I am able to watch multiple episodes during that time each day.
I have realized that class projects are one of the few nightmares for commuters. When the words “group project” are spoken, I shut down. Group projects are some of the worst things at UMW for commuters because I am not available on campus all day and all week. I live 35 minutes away so it takes some planning. I have been in projects that the group could only meet after 6 p.m., which meant another four hours of me sitting around because my classes ended at 2 p.m. that afternoon. I have to shift many plans around and it becomes such a hassle to even work on the project because I am not constantly available to meet.
I have found out that being a commuter at UMW is both a blessing and a curse. I love that I do not have to live where I take my classes because honestly, I’d rather sleep in my bed at home. As a senior looking back at my time here, I wouldn’t trade being a commuter for anything.