Commuter students experience real-world life while still in college

“Living off campus can be a burden for some students, and a retreat for the next. It really depends on student preferences,” said Elizabeth Latham, 22, a senior political science major from Raeford, N.C.

“Being a commuter at Norwich University has its ups and downs and everyone has their reason for living on or off campus,” Latham said. “Personally, I moved off campus because I wanted and needed more personal space. What can I say? I enjoy bubble baths and walking around comfortably.”

According to the Norwich University admissions office, the student population at Norwich University is at 2300 students. The population is made up of three lifestyles: that of the cadet, the civilian, and that of the commuter.

“I couldn’t wait to move off campus my junior year” said Nael Pierre -Louis, a 23-year-old senior criminal justice major from Cumberland, R.I. “It’s a privilege to live off-campus, I waited three years for it, and I’m enjoying every moment of it.”

Among the freedoms that Pierre-Louis’ most enjoys as a commuter student, is that there are no limits on making noise of listening to loud music. “I have the freedom to be as loud as I want without having to be considerate to the dorm room quiet hours or (worrying about) the occasional complaining of the residential advisor.”

However, the downside is that commuter life can be a “struggle,” Pierre says. “In order to understand the commuter lifestyle you have to live it,” he said. “Some days, being a commuter is a cakewalk, and other days it can feel like a struggle depending on your time management, schedule and your budget.”

According to the “Memorandum for all Civilians Students: Housing Policy for Academic Year 2013-2014,” only the junior and senior civilian students have the privilege to live off campus if they so choose. All freshmen and sophomores must partake in mandatory residential housing provided by the university.

“As a freshmen and sophomore I leaved in residential buildings Dodge, and South Hall, by the time I was a junior I had moved off campus to 58 Kent St., with my teammates Dome Diaz, Danny Triplett and Jason Springer,” said Norwich football captain Louis Delgado, a 23-year-old senior engineering major from Albany, N.Y. “We had a blast and at the same time we learned a lot of valuable life lessons, like managing your $500 monthly rent, on top of shopping for groceries and conserving water and energy for your monthly utility bill.”

“When you move off campus reality sets in fast, I say this because you realize all the luxuries you’ve gained and lost. For an example, no meal plan equals no Sodexo chiefs with hot and ready meals. Another luxury lost is the services of Norwich’s custodians, who help you clean mop, sweep and wax your floor. In turn, you learn how fend for yourself and mature a little; it forces you to cook and be independent. It’s an experience every civilian and corps student should have,” added Delgado.

According to Dr. Frank T. Vanecek, the NU vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, the Corps of Cadets is a four-year, in-residence, progressive leadership and character development program. All cadets residing on campus will abide by the full provisions of the Norwich University Student Rules Regulations (NUSRR) governing membership in the Corps of Cadets, and all corps must reside on campus all four years.

“Sadly and proudly I’m in the corps and can’t live off campus, but I hang out with the Norwich commuters all the time. The commuters are just an extension of the Norwich community and hanging with them only expands the university. Hanging with the commuters gives me a chance to experience the towns of Northfield and Barre,” said Emilio Pazimino a, 20-year-old sophomore psychology major from Rosell Park, N.J.

“Being off campus on the weekend is also a plus because it’s no secret, our campus is a dry campus’. So, turning 21 and being able to responsibly drink in the comfort of your own home is always fun,” Pierre-Louis said. “It sure beats getting ‘VAP’d on campus, but if you’re not responsible and careful you could find yourself in more trouble, because commuters are held to a double standard.”

Commuter students are subject to all University Policies and the NUSRR. It is important that all commuter students are aware of local ordinances as they are still expected to conduct themselves as responsible, lawful citizens of the community but also in accordance with Norwich’s student rules and regulations.

“Sure, living on campus has its perks but I found it to be more of an inconvenience for a full-time student like myself. I lived in Crawford and South Hall my freshmen and sophomore year. By the time I was a junior I was staying on Washington Street with the freedom to do what I want. The feeling was amazing, but the responsibility that came with it was not. Finding a job to pay for rent and making three square meals a day on top of 22 credits is not my idea of easy living. So, I moved back to Flint,” Zocco said.

“Being on campus is so convenient for any student because everything is in arm’s reach. Rain snow or shine you have easy access to all the facilities like the weight room, field house and the auditorium. When you live off campus just making it to class can become a hassle because of weather conditions and limited parking,” added Zocco.

According to Norwich’s cars and registration policies, parking lot E is specifically designated for commuter students with registered vehicles. Since this lot does not provide sufficient parking for all commuters, registered commuters vehicles can also park in the lots at Plumley, Kreitzberg Arena, and lots B, C, & D.

“It’s fair to say that the hardest part about being a commuter is the actual commuting to the campus during the winter season. I know all commuters dread that season because of the enforced parking restrictions and the sometimes dangerous black ice during snowstorms, not to mention the fact you have to dig your car out and defrost it every morning,” said Danny Triplett, a 23-year-old senior criminal justice major from Worcester, Mass.

“Commuting has its ups and downs. I know personally living off campus has prepared me to be a future homeowner and has given me a taste of what the real world has in store for me,” Tripplett said. “Being a commuter has helped me experience a side of Norwich I would have never known existed had I remained on campus all four years. Besides living off campus is saving me a ton of money off my tuition bill.”

According to Norwich’s cost of attendance (tuition, fees and deposit) the cost of tuition is $31,550 dollars a year and the tab for room and board is estimated to be around $11,524 per year.

“On average I’m spending a little over $3,000 on room and board, so I’m saving close to $6,500 a year when I’m off campus, so I’d like to think I’m winning,” Tripplett said

“All in all, being a commuter is just another Norwich experience,” he said.

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