There is no doubt that St. John’s University is generally known as a “commuter school”. Frankly, us commuters are more often than not different when compared to resident students. Perhaps it has something to do with living in the big city, but we tend to stick out like a sore thumb. Typically, we’re never dressed in sleepwear, we’re usually in a hurry to get home, and we rarely get involved. Living off campus certainly has its downsides. From feeling like you’re not living the college experience, to unfortunately not taking advantage of the various activities the university has to offer. However, the upsides definitely help ease the FOMO a commuter might be feeling. Branching out into the big city and experiencing the real world for what it is may just be the best lesson a student could learn. It truly is a lifestyle only we understand and have grown to either love or hate. So without further ado, here are 10 things you only understand if you live off campus at SJU.
1. Having to make time for your daily commute.
If there is one thing that us commuters HATE : it’s actually commuting. Whether you’re taking the bus, train, or car there is nothing worse than having to wake up earlier in order to still be late to class. As much as we try, no one can predict the MTA and let’s not even begin to mention how difficult it is to find parking outside of campus. At times we have to admit, it would be a lot easier to just roll out of bed and take a quick stroll to class.
2. Not suffering from cafeteria diarrhea.
As someone who lives off campus and cooks for mostly all of her meals, I truly feel for resident students when they complain about the horrible dining hall food. A home cooked meal with fresh ingredients is definitely something I can’t live without and I especially can’t begin to imagine how terrible it is to be glued to a toilet for an hour every time I eat. A major perk of living off campus is not only being able to eat fresh ingredients, but also refraining from gaining the iconic “freshman 15.”
3. Becoming extra lazy to attend class.
Believe it or not, just because us commuters live off campus does not mean we can skip class every chance we get. Despite it being extra work to get ready and go to class, we still find the energy to attend. For us, it’s like living the college experience without the fun side. This can lead to us contemplating whether to stay in bed or go to that class with the professor who always cancels or just doesn’t show up half of the time. It’s much easier for resident students, but for the commuters it can be a real waste of time.
4. Realizing how much more there is to New York than the usual campus and touristy Times Square.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I overheard a resident student complain about there being nothing to do in Queens. As a New Yorker, my frustration goes through the roof whenever I hear that phrase. Believe me, there is a lot more to New York and even Queens than Union Turnpike. Living off campus forces you to explore the city on your own and you’ll soon realize how unique and diverse NYC truly is. There are countless things to do and a whole different world on each corner. So to you resident students who stay in your dorm all semester, get out there and take advantage of the greatest city in the world!!
5. Experiencing FOMO.
Commuters are constantly strolling through Instagram and seeing all of their high school friends going off to state schools, dorming, and joining sororities. The cliche college experience is what we all dreamed about as kids. I’m sure the majority of us students imagined our parents waving good bye as we settled into our dorm, met our roommates, and experienced the best four years of our lives. Well, all of that is pretty hard to do when you live off campus. We tend to be fearful of whether or not we are taking advantage of our adolescence. What reminiscent stories will we tell our children of the good ol’ college years?
6. Feeling a bit more cultured than your fellow resident peers.
Because we live off campus, we’re sort of forced into the big bustling streets of New York. Instead of relying on the typical neighborhood college bars and restaurants that all SJU students go to, we experience better, more cultured places. For instance, New Yorkers know exactly what places to hit up if they’re craving more diverse cuisine. If we want Greek food, we know Astoria is the place and if we’re in the mood for something Asian, Flushing is the area to go. Living off of campus, you meet people of all different races and backgrounds and although St. John’s has one of the most diverse campuses in the country, it truly compare to what the rest of the city has to offer.
7. Not having to spend so much $ on room and board.
There is nothing better than not having to spend thousands of dollars to share a room with a stranger. With that money, we can be able to Study Abroad or save up and get our own cheap place all to ourselves. Our parents and our wallets thank us.
8. Having difficulty getting involved.
Commuters are often tempted to attend class and hurry off back home. From the get go, it is difficult for us to make friends on campus because we don’t see them as much as resident students see each other. This makes joining clubs and other organizations more intimidating as we don’t have many commuter friends that would like to join with us. This is a big downside to living off campus as it can hinder your experience in college and your networking abilities.
9. Being “labeled” as a commuter.
At St. John’s, commuters more often than not rarely branch out to resident students. We tend to make other commuter friends and distance ourselves from non-New Yorkers. As a result, we’re rarely seen and are usually anti-social at school. That is, until we get back home and hang out with our regular friends.
10. Having your room all to your self.
This is one of the main perks of not living on campus. Despite the various downsides to not experiencing college as the typical American student would, one must admit that not sharing a room with a complete stranger is a dream come true when you’re in a University. There is nothing better than to get home from a long day and do whatever you want. Your room can be as messy or organized and you please and you can play whatever genre of music at any volume your ears desire.
That wraps it up for the 10 things you only understand if you live off campus at SJU. Whether you live on or off campus, we can all agree on one thing: St. John’s students are one of the most diverse and interesting people in New York. Thank You.