How Commuting Makes College More Affordable

Written by: MyJia Brown, Rising Sophomore at Cleveland State University, FLI Program Participant

I always dreamed of going to college. I never had a backup plan, because I knew to fulfill my dreams, college is where I would have to start. I always pictured being in the dorms, making new friends, sleeping in uncomfortable beds, running up and down the hallways, pretty much everything you see in the movies. So once my senior year came around, it seemed like everything I had envisioned and dreamt about was slowly turning into a nightmare.

Prior to my senior year of high school, I had worked so hard. I participated in every club, sport, I was even the Vice President of Student council. I performed in international festivals to promote universal peace, I did it all. But when National Decision Day came, it seemed like my all was not enough. On May 1, 2020, I committed to Cleveland State University, as a fulltime commuter student. I know what you are thinking: being a commuter did not add up to my dreams. While it was not what I had imagined, it has made college affordable for me. I got accepted into all twenty universities I applied to, private and public. I was even offered the president’s scholarship at a few, but when it all boiled down, it still was not enough to cover all the expenses of living on campus. I had to go back to the drawing board and review all my offers and deciding to become a commuter has been the best decision for ME!

While commuting did open a door for me, I do believe there are some things I have not experienced, due to the fact I am still at home. Things such as accessible resources. Whenever I had to print out handouts or practice problems, I had to wait until I was on campus. Another aspect of living on campus that I feel I have not fully experienced is personal growth. While I believe I am changing and growing every day, I am not truly becoming my own person while still being at home and not venturing out on my own. The final thing that I have struggled with is discipline. There were plenty of times when I would have to drive to campus just to study or do work because I was not productive at home.

It is all about picturing where you will be ten or twenty years from now. I did not want to live on campus if that meant me working full-time while attending school full-time. I did not want to take out thousands of loans and put myself in further debt before graduate school — all for what, to sleep on a twin-size bed? Deciding to commute to college has allowed me to attend college without taking out any loans, getting a refund check, and most of all it has allowed me to focus on my studies, and not on how I will pay for my education.

If you have the funds and can go off to school go! But for those who are like me, college is what you make it, so go to the drawing board and figure it out. Best of luck to you all!

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