For many Southeastern students commuting to school can be both challenging and beneficial. From parking, to eating, to attending class, commuter students face daily obstacles they must overcome to reach academic success on campus. Southeastern students tell what obstacles they face, how they overcome them, and how the university can better accommodate future commuter students.
For Jovan Depland, senior, lounge spaces within class buildings would make it easier for students who commute. “There needs to be a place for us to just relax in between classes,” she said. For students, like Depland, who travel 45 min. or more to come to class, the only place to relax on campus is in their car.
Senior Akeem Burls agreed with her. “Every day, I have to pay a lot to eat on campus or leave and go to McDonalds or something like that to get something off the dollar menu,” said Burls. “I would just like somewhere that I can keep home cooked meals cool and a place to warm them.”
But a lounge area is not the only thing that would accommodate commuter students within buildings. “We need lockers,” said Depland. “I carry three to four heavy books all day with nowhere to put them.”
Burls said that he walks to his car in between classes to trade out books. “I park far… It’s time consuming and tiresome to walk to my car just to get another book,” he also comments that the university should improve parking.
Residential student Nicole Canon, senior, complains that too many upper-class commuters take parking spots away from students living in Southeastern Oaks. “Even though it’s just for the residents, there are no enforcers to make sure they don’t park in the lot,” said Cannon. “I can never move my car because I know how hard it’ll be to find another spot.”
Depland mentioned the lack of parking for students due to construction. “They took parking away from us to give to faculty because of that,” said Depland who tries to arrive on campus early to get a good parking spot.
Students also wish there were more affordable meal plans. “The meal plans are too expensive,” said Akeem. “That was part of the reason I decided to commute. My mom didn’t want to pay for the $1000 meal plan.”
“I used to rush home every day after class to eat,” said Cannon who commuted for a semester before moving into Southeastern Oaks. “It was more that there aren’t enough healthy options for me,” she said.
But while students have many issues as a commuter, they succeed more academically. “I got a lot more work done when I was a commuter,” said Cannon. Due to the lack of study space and free time away from campus, Cannon said she tried to make sure her assignments were completed before she left. “While I was off campus, I would be at work or around my family, and not worry about my school work,” she said.
“If I’m here, I’m going to work,” Depland says. She agrees that she is more productive as a commuter. She notes that the accessible computers and printers makes her want to stay on campus longer to finish class work. “I rather use the prints that I pay for here, than to use my ink and paper at home.”
Depland also notes the lack of commuter student participation in activities and organizations. “I have to get so much done in very little time, so I don’t really think about doing anything other than my work,” she said. “If there were flyers left on our cars, it would remind us to be more active because the emails don’t catch my attention anymore.”
According to Depland, extra time is the most important thing to improve a commuter’s life on campus. “People who live on campus have the best life,” she said.