Going to college, and staying at home

Most college students look forward to a good home-cooked meal during breaks or at the end of the semester. But for students who commute from home, those meals are within their reach every evening.

“If I had to eat here every day, I think I’d kill myself,” sophomore Mike Smith said. Smith and his sister, senior Michelle Smith, both commute from their home in West Chester.

But food is just one small reason that some students commute from home.

“The money is the key thing,” sophomore Albert Ruggieri said.

Senior Joe Gargano, who has commuted from home since he started college, agreed. “Sometimes I wanted to take out loans, but my dad convinced me to live at home,” he said. “Every semester it would kind of come up, but [he said], ‘our aim is for you to graduate with no debt.'”

Gargano, Smith and Ruggieri are all content with their living situations.

When Ruggieri visited Eastern as a prospective student, he stayed in a residence hall. “It’s terrible,” he said. “[There were] guys writing papers til four a.m.”

Later on, he said, “I don’t know if I could live in a dorm. I would kill somebody, and I don’t want to kill anyone.”

Smith disagreed. “I think I would rather live on campus than commute from another place. Then you’re built into the community,” he said.

Gargano said that it has been hard trying to be a part of the community. “The hardest thing is that it’s isolating at times,” he said. “[It’s hard] to connect with people when you have to leave.”

Smith said that the adjustment from high school to college was made easier because he lived at home. “I think it’s nice not to have to go through homesickness,” he said. “You can keep your friend base from home. You can add on as you meet people but keep the friendships from home.”

All three recognized some problems with staying at home.

“Trying to make the most of your time while you’re at home [is a challenge],” Smith said. Otherwise, he said, he finds himself wasting time.

Ruggieri added that he doesn’t do much of his work at home. “Whenever I’m on campus, I’m working hard.”

Gargano said that personal growth is a big issue. “Finding yourself has a lot to do with being on your own,” he said. “When you’re with family, you have a lot less legroom to do that.”

Smith added, “When you live with your parents, not going to physics at eight a.m. because you’re tired is not a good excuse.”

And, of course, they voiced every commuter’s complaint. “The parking situation really does suck,” Smith said.

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