It is early morning when the alarm goes off and the commuter reaches over to press the snooze button, choosing not to strike it a third time. The debate over getting ten more minutes of sleep or showering concludes as the commuter makes their way towards the bathroom. Freshly showered and wide awake, they begin to gather everything they need for an entire day of classes, then cross their fingers that traffic is not slowed to a time-consuming crawl on their drive to campus. Meanwhile, someone living on-campus has the luxury of fumbling their way out of bed five minutes before class starts, and still arriving there on time. Living off campus requires a great deal of “temporal bargaining,” which often leads to hygienic neglect and diminished nutrition from the fast food substitutes instead of healthier breakfast options. However, most resident students need not prepare their meals since dining services are there to provide a variety of meal options. However, as great as this may seem, campus living offers students a skewed view of reality and it is not wise to grow accustomed to the routines and services offered. The sweet allure of living on campus stops at proximity. Off-campus living, no matter how great the distance, gives commuters a greater sense of independence. When they leave school at the conclusion of their day, the rules they must abide by are left behind as well. They can comfortably kick back at home, enjoy a few adult libations and not have to worry about the annoying kid down the hall dropping in unwelcomed. While it requires a heightened awareness of where the hands of the clock rest, commuters gain more experience with time management. Since a greater amount of consideration must go into preparation, there tends to
be a noticeable aesthetic difference between the commuters and the campus dwellers. On campus, the day begins when the alarm goes off and not while it is being set the night before. This usually results in a scramble to sniff out the least odorous articles of clothing or the wearing of pajamas slept in the night before. The commuter, bound to a strict time code, enjoys a clean set of clothes prepared over the weekend following their scheduled shower to precede their timely arrival at class. Colleges around the nation pride themselves on their ability to prepare their students for the real world once they graduate. To improve this promise, colleges should require their students to live off campus for either the majority of their time at school or for an amount equal to their time on campus. This way, the students will learn how to balance their lives to compensate for the increase in distance by not relying on proximity for remedying their “temporal bargaining” mishaps. One of the biggest lessons for students to learn is that 10 extra minutes of sleep, while appealing when you are groggy and not looking forward to class, does not benefit your habits in the long run. School should be treated as practice for entering the workforce and students should prepare for it in the same manner as a profession. This does not necessarily mean wearing a suit and tie, but taking a preparatory shower and having a fresh set of clothing for each day would certainly be a nice touch.