Most R.E.A.L. students, like me, are commuters. As commuter students, there are advantages and disadvantages. I can step away from college life for a period. I have my independence and my privacy. I can come home when I want, and I don’t have to worry about my leftovers being eaten when I’m gone. Most of the time, anyway. That also means that I must travel to go to class in the snow. If an event is happening at night or on a day I don’t have class, I must come back. I need to plan to be here if I want to be here.
I live in Revere and drive to school every day. For those of you who are not familiar with the area, that means I drive about 20 minutes each way to get to school. Some people may want to ask why I don’t take public transportation. It would take me just over an hour each way if I took the T to school. If you add in the time it takes me to get to work after class and then get home at the end of the day, taking the T is not an option. I can only do so much homework on the bus and train.
When I started attending Tufts, I was warned to avoid the PCP routine. Parking lot, class, parking lot. Some R.E.A.L. students tend to spend as little time as possible on campus because of work, family, etc. I can’t speak for everyone, but I came to Tufts to be at Tufts. I want to take advantage of everything that the school has to offer, and that means more than just the classrooms. There are events happening on campus more frequently than I realize because I didn’t see the flyer posted on the stairs outside of Tisch Library, or I couldn’t read the chalk outline on the ground. I forget that the cannon can be used as a form of communication.
In my first semester, I didn’t spend any time on campus. I skipped GIMs and missed lectures. I snuck into speaker events and regretted leaving early to go to work. I was a R.E.A.L. student who didn’t do anything or join any groups my first semester. I always had something else to do. Usually, that meant work, but I realized much later that I was wasting an opportunity that Tufts was giving me.
I started taking time off from work to go to events when I could. Friends came with me to the lectures on campus. This is a part of my education too. I can take classes anywhere, but I am at Tufts for a reason. Tufts is more than just a classroom or a parking lot. Tufts is the people who come to campus and the groups formed on campus. It is the speaker on Friday afternoon and the lecture on Tuesday night. Maybe I still miss the movie on Wednesday because of work, but I do have rent to pay.