What it takes to be a commuter

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to commute to class every day? The majority of students at Bethel live on campus in one of the residential dorms. These students live within walking distance to their classrooms, their next meal, their athletic facilities and their friends. This daily routine: would it drastically change if students had to factor in driving distance, traffic, car troubles, family emergencies and weather conditions. Welcome to the life of a commuter student. On average, arriving to class takes more effort for commuter students than for residential students. If a residential student wakes up to five inches of snow, he throws on his boots, hat and gloves and heads off to class. They have to factor in more drive time because of the snow and ice on the roads as well as time to defrost the car and clean all that snow off the windows. Commuter students have a few other hurdles to overcome— chiefly the fact that commuter students don’t get to experience campus life as easily. Dori Walterhouse, a junior, lives in the urban ministry house in Keller Park. Though this is housing set up through Bethel, Walterhouse has about a 15-minute drive to campus for classes. “It’s hard to do things with people sometimes, especially in the evenings because I don’t always want to make the trip to campus,” she said. Junior Andera Miller shared this sentiment. “There are always friends to talk to, someone to hang out with, or something to do,” she said. “When living off campus you don’t get to participate in such activities as readily.” Each and every student has different reasons for commuting to Bethel, but there are a few obvious advantages. Some students reside in the Michiana area and living at home allows them to pay for classes at a private, Christian college. The option to commute allows some students to marry during college and yet, still finish their degrees. Don’t forget the great Adult Studies and Graduate programs that Bethel offers. These students commute to Bethel because they are earning degrees while holding down full time jobs and raising families. Another advantage of commuting to campus is the new commuter lounge in room 124 of the Academic Center. This solves another disadvantage of having too much downtime between classes, and nowhere to go. According to Dr. Eric Oglesbee, the idea for the new lounge came from a faculty meeting about FYE. He pitched the idea to the Student Council Executive Officers. “Executive officers deserve recognition for recognizing the importance of furnishing a space on campus for commuters,” said Oglesbee. All students are welcome to enjoy the new commuter lounge and get to know fellow commuter students.
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