Editor’s Note: Click here see the companion article to this, titled “The Trials of Commuting.”

(STATESMAN STOCK PHOTO)
Commuting does not have to deter students from participating on campus. (STATESMAN STOCK PHOTO)

Home-cooked meals, having someone to do your laundry and mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies all sound like great things. Unfortunately, most college students cannot get them. For commuters, it is easy. Being a commuter is both a blessing and a curse, but for me, it is very easy to see how it is a blessing, especially at Stony Brook University.

One of the biggest fears for commuters at a new school is that they will have trouble getting adjusted to the campus, but I find it easy thanks to my commuter assistant. The Commuter Assistant Program pairs incoming commuter students with seasoned student leaders who volunteer their time to provide support, advice and camaraderie during the new students’ first year. My commuter assistant gave me tours of the campus and met with me before school started. In my opinion, having a commuter assistant is like having a friend you knew at school before school started. The best part is that they are students, so they are easy to relate to and know what it is like to be a student.

I also believe that another benefit of being a commuter is having home-cooked meals. Many students living on campus have to spend a large amount of money on campus meal plans. The bronze meal plan for campus costs $1930 a semester, and that is the least expensive meal plan. This forces many students to make their own meals. The only thing I can make is cereal. Luckily for me, I am a commuter and I do not have to make myself cereal for dinner. Instead, I can enjoy my favorite dinner, my mom’s homemade tacos.

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As a commuter I can honestly say that the school has many events where I can meet people and have fun. At Suffolk County Community College, there were few events for students to enjoy, so when I transferred to Stony Brook University, I was surprised by the large amount of events they had for students. Many of these events are held by the Weekend Life Council. One event they did was the Weekend Water Park on Sept. 6, 2013. This was my favorite event so far because they brought in a water slide that was almost as tall as the Student Activities Center building. I went down that slide six times, and even though I fell down the stairs once as I was climbing my way up, I still had fun. The best part was that I met someone new on campus and became friends.

Another big fear for commuters is that they will not meet anyone on campus and have a hard time finding friends, but I found it easy for a large number of reasons. One of these is that the school has many clubs and organizations that students can join. I joined the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band, which has over 200 members. So I now have plenty of friends. I also recommend joining clubs because it is very easy. For example, the Fall Involvement Fair, which took place on Sept. 4, 2013 showed students all of the clubs and let them talk to students who are club members. Many clubs have websites where you can follow and join them. A piece of advice for commuters who do not want to join clubs or organizations is to not be shy. Go to football games, use the Recreation Center, go to the commuter lounge and try to meet new people.

In all, being a commuter may have its bad points, but it is very easy to have just as much fun as any other student.  I am having a great time as a commuter and a student at Stony Brook. I believe the more effort you put in as a commuter, the more fun you will have at Stony Brook.

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