The Commuter Corner: Managing Family Responsibilities

The Commuter Corner: Managing Family Responsibilities

A commuter student’s day looks vastly different from that of a resident’s. Not only do we lose time on our commute, but we are also faced with family responsibilities that residents do not have when away from home. 

I know many commuter students who say they have to be home by a certain time to take care of younger siblings, do chores, prepare dinner, etc. Being faced with these responsibilities can take the fun away from college. 

Students that have to leave campus early often lose out on the opportunity to be involved in clubs or other fun activities. Personally, I often miss out on MAC events because I have to work the night shift at an off-campus job. 

Other times, staying on campus for fun events is not worth it. On the days I am able to stay on campus, I am ready to go home after being on campus since 8:00 am. 

Having continued family and household responsibilities can also take time away from your academic studies. To help combat this, planning out study time and informing your family members of your study plan can help you staying on track in your classes. 

Setting boundaries is also important for commuter students. Communicating with your family about what support you need as you pursue a degree and sticking to those boundaries can be very helpful. With this, you can also plan specific times to spend with your family and fulfilling your household responsibilities. It is also essential to schedule time for yourself and your friends/partner. 

Keep your priorities in mind when planning your time, and make sure you do not overload your schedule. Don’t feel obligated to join every club or go to every campus event. Missing out on a few things here and there is not the end of the world – it can be one of the best things to do for yourself. 

While maintaining a routine is highly beneficial, it is important to be flexible as well. Sometimes, family will have to be the priority, and school will go on the back burner and vice versa. Life can be unexpected and it is best not to worry when it doesn’t go as planned. 

No matter what happens or how overwhelming it gets, you will be okay. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, you can comment, reach out to me at [email protected], or fill out this anonymous form.