Commuter problems. Though they be many, they are one of the most unifying bonding experiences between us all.
When people think of commuter problems, one of the first things they think of is parking or transportation problems– the only parking spot available is the furthest from your class and you’re already five minutes late, or your bus came late and now you’re cross between calling an Uber or missing the class entirely.
All of those examples are perfectly fine assumptions, after all “commuter problems” indicates problems about the commute itself.
However safe that assumption is, it is limiting. Commuters have a lot of problems.
Besides the struggle for finding parking for classes past 9AM, commuters face an array of issues that most residents might not deal with.
One issue most commuters face is the unfortunate gap between classes. In theory the gap is long enough for you to be productive, eat, socialize or catch up on sleep, but too short to make the trip home and back.
In reality, finding a quiet space to be productive is limited to the library, area whose capacity is limited during peak hours, or the student lounge early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s quieter.
When it comes to eating, we commuters have to choose between paying for diner food or the economical approach of storing lunch in a locker or car where it is at the mercy of the temperature and time. Salads could wilt, sandwiches could become squashed and soups have to be reheated.
Another issue commuters face is leaving items in their lockers and not realizing until it is too late to return to school to retrieve them. While residents may face the same problem, they have a shorter trek to make than commuters to retrieve their forgotten textbooks.
For those who need to catch up on sleep, commuters do not have the opportunity to go back to their dorms and recharge. Sure, lounge couches are an option, but it does not grant the same privacy or comfort as a dorm bed would.
You could ask a resident friend to nap in their room, but finding corresponding times in your schedules that would work are few and far between.
Socializing and getting involved during the class gap is another issue commuters face. Although it is easy to burn an hour or so browsing Twitter or catching up with your MWF friends, opportunities for learning about campus involvement are limited to those very specific times where events are advertised via diner tables or flyers.
Although St. Xavier tries its best to be accommodating to its commuters, there are very few interactive events during the day or late afternoon that would make us want to stay on campus rather than the comfort of our homes.
Late night bonfires and faith sharing groups are a great way to connect with others, but place a strain on commuters who live farther away and can not justify a commute that lasts as long as the event.
The fact is that residents have an easy access to on campus events and knowledge of off campus activities more readily than commuters.
There are a few ways for that disparity to become more equal.
One way would would be having more commuter centered lounge and study areas in unoccupied rooms or buildings.
While the Chapel has the Commuter Corner, a typically quiet room where commuters could nap on the couches, get work done or take advantage of the flatscreen, it is not as accessible or advertized as well as the student lounge in Ward.
Because Commuter Corner is in the Chapel, some students may not feel comfortable entering it if they do not belong to that religious denomination, regardless to the fact that everyone is welcome inside.
Some students may not enter at all due to having no reason to enter because it is detached from the larger and more trafficked buildings. Therefore, they miss out on a resource available to them.
St. Xavier can only do so much in regards of getting commuter involvement. Therefore it is up to the prerogative of the commuter to get involved in the SXU community and take advantage of the resources available.
Commuters can do this through checking The Den frequently for Resident Student Organizations (RSOs) to join or events coming up.
For example, students can sign up for retreats hosted by Campus Ministry on The Den.
Campus Ministry offers a variety of retreats that are open to all denominations of faith. “QUEST” is a first year and transfer student retreat, while “Awakening” is open to all levels.
With all the problems commuters face, it is partly up to them to make the best of their situation. Joining RSOs, partaking in service trips, intramurals or making use of Commuter Corner are all viable options in making the Commuter experience at St. Xavier even more memorable.