The Daily Gamecock

Commuting from off campus affects student involvement

Some students who commute from off-campus residences said they do not have the same opportunities to participate in campus life as those who are just a short walk from campus events.

Monica Williams, a third-year public relations student, lives at Riverside Apartments, which is about a seven-minute drive from campus. Williams finds it especially hard to keep up her on-campus involvement while still relying on shuttles for transportation between her apartment and the USC campus.

“When I have to rely on a shuttle, it makes it hard because I’m on the shuttle’s time, so it's like I’m only going to be on campus for the allotted time that my shuttle is basically going to allow me to be on campus,” Williams said.

According to Williams, the shuttle makes stops at certain pick-up locations every half hour.

Jade Watford, a first-year experimental psychology student, lives about 10 minutes away from campus with her family and said she also thinks it can be an inconvenience to commute back for on-campus events.

“If there’s an event at nighttime, I would have to drive back up here, and it’s just too much of a hassle to really get involved,” Watford said.

When she still lived on campus, Watford said she felt a greater sense of belonging at USC. She also said she had been making more friends and finding a variety of things that she was interested in.

“I definitely put myself at a disadvantage because I haven’t made as many friends as some of the other people who are living on campus, and I guess I’m just more detached from everything that’s going on,” Watford said.

Williams also said she finds it more difficult to participate in social events on campus while commuting from an off-campus residence.

“I guess I’d say that’s one thing that I do miss about being on campus. I’m obviously not going to go as much to Russell events because there’s so much time that I have to make around it, and then I have other stuff going on,” Williams said.

Natalie Monzavifar, a second-year math and computer science student, lives only a short walk from campus, but she still believes it is definitely a big change from living in on-campus dorms.

“It’s not as easy to just go places when I want to go, because it's like you have to plan,"  Monzavifar said. "You have to provide the extra 15 to 20 minutes to get somewhere."

Monzavifar also said she had a difficult time initially deciding whether or not she should live off-campus.

“Once you live off-campus, you get out of an on-campus housing lottery, and that was a big question," Monzavifar said. "Do I really want to live off-campus and lose my chance of being on the Horseshoe?"

For Monzavifar, there was also a noticeable difference in social interactions while living off-campus.

“You don’t see the same people year-round at the dorms all the time, and it’s not as easy to hang out with people"  Monzavifar said. "You center your energy more towards people you really want to hang out with."