Freshman dance major Emily Dixon begins her 30-minute commute from her West Mount Airy home at 7 a.m. to find a parking spot on campus, and then heads to her first class at 8:40 a.m. Dixon attends one class, which is followed by a three-hour gap.
Emily finds herself in a dilemma where she must find a way to manage her time effectively. She hangs out at the Bell Tower, and catches up on whatever work she may have or socializes with fellow commuters.
“What else is there?” Dixon said.
Temple, once entirely a commuter school, now has 80 percent of its student body commuting from homes and apartments in various areas of Philadelphia and other surrounding towns, according to the Department of Institutional Research.
Of these students, 25 percent are freshmen who have days similar to Dixon’s, where their schedules do not fit their lives as well as they could. Commuters who have not scored the perfect schedule must deal with an abundance of time between classes and try to make their days as efficient as possible.
Since many commuters pay SEPTA fares or live too far off campus, returning home between classes is out of the question.
“It’s way too hard to go home in between classes,” Dixon said, who chooses to remain on campus for the day.
The ability to either complete work on campus or during trips on the train is valued by many commuting students.
Senior history major Samantha Frankenfield gets most of her reading done on the commute to and from her home in Doylestown. Senior criminal justice major Joe Rossi spends his breaks at the Bell Tower, and completes his assignments so that he has free time at home.
“Being home is for relaxing,” Rossi said.
But not all students share the same opinions on life as a commuter. Underclassmen and upperclassmen have very different views on the subject.
“You miss out on a lot living at home,” Dixon said. “People get to bond together when they live together, and I don’t get that experience.”
Freshman Evan Letts prefers life on campus as opposed to home. Letts only commutes once or twice a week from his home in Northeast Philadelphia and stays overnight with friends on campus the majority of the week.
“I spend a lot of time in the different dorms,” Letts said. “It’s such a hassle to get up early and take the bus.”
Upperclassmen, on the other hand, see commuting as something beneficial. Frankenfield finds that she accomplishes more now than she did when she lived on campus.
“My grades have improved since I started commuting,” she said. “It’s easier to get work done. There are no noisy roommates.”
In the end, having scheduling conflicts appears to be beneficial for commuters and helps them manage their days to their fullest potential. Commuters can finish their work in between classes, then travel home and enjoy what some value most – the positive effects on their educations.
“You don’t feel so confined,” said junior broadcasting major Mark Cruttenden, when asked if he prefers commuting over living on campus. He shares the belief that commuting allows for more time to get assignments and reading out of the way.
“I go to more of my classes now than when I lived on campus,” he said.
Nicole Saylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.