T Nation

Living at School vs. Commuting


Hey guys. I don't post here often but I'd figure this would be a good place to get some opinions and advice.

Right now I attend a local community and I will be transferring to a four year university to complete my mechanical engineering BS. My family is well off, so I usually don't receive any financial aid from the FAFSA, just subsidized loans. My parents also don't pay for any of my schooling. I have no problem with that either, I'd rather own my education and respect my hard-work in earning it. So basically if I live at school for two years (UMass Amherst), I will be 40 grand in debt at graduation, or If I live at home and commute I will owe about 24 grand.

The pros and cons of both commuting and dorming weigh bout the same for me, I wanna meet more girls, get laid more, have fun, but I also wanna get good grades and a good job. If you guys have any tips, suggestions, I'd greatly appreciate them and love to hear them. Thanks.


Live in residence first year, then move off campus. 1st year was the funnest year of my life, and it would've sucked had I not lived in residence.


i could not imagine living at home while i went to college.

i got good grades, and now i have a good job. i lived in college houses/apts the whole time. the two are not related, lol.

why is there a 16 grand difference between living at home or in an apt near campus?

seriously though, while getting good grades and making the most of your education should be your top priority, you should take advantage and try ot hav as much fun as possible while in school.

you have the rest of your life to be serious.


If you want to get laid more, live on campus. Seriously.


Listen to the guy with Black Acne on his face! Enjoy it and live on campus.



If you don't understand why, live on-campus for a year and see how you feel about moving back in with the parents.

Oh and also, having a good time and getting good grades are not mutually exclusive. You have a lot of free time in college, you can be plenty social and still have loads of time to study.


You should live at school. You probably will end up spending less money than you think by living there. No gas costs for commuting, less driving means less potential repair work for your car, and there's usually some sort of food package or whatever that comes with dorm residency. When I was at Chico State, the freshman dorm had this huge cafeteria on the first floor and students could eat there for lunch and dinner 7 days a week and breakfast on weekends.

Apparently it was all you can eat, and if you ate there about three times a week for the whole semester, you were essentially getting free food for anything beyond that. I attended when I was a fourth-year junior, so I never ate there, but I heard the food was actually pretty good on most nights.

Plus, you'll meet way more people. My freshman year I was totally lost. I've always been kind of socially-awkward and I'd never lived away from home at that point. Living and associating with other people your own age who are in the same boat as you really eases that transition. Going to college and living on your own can be a pretty tough, scary thing for a lot of kids to deal with.

If you decide to live off-campus with your friends after a year of on-campus living, the dorm life can really help you figure out who you do and don't want to live with. I was a really hard person to live with back then and this fact being exposed to others made it easier for me to find people who I knew ahead of time wouldn't be a hassle to live with once I moved off-campus.


It all depends if you have HPV or not. If you do live on campus, if not save your money live off campus. You will get more quality ass when you have a degree, money, car etc.


You're doing this^^^^^^

And you think you'll have time for both this:

And this?

Yeah. Good luck.

Best plan? Find a faithful girlfriend who doesn't mind the long long hours that you'll be studying and working on school work. That way you can focus on your studies, but still have a ready "outlet" when you do have a spare hour or two.

I speak from having spent the time getting a BSME. Although your situation might be a little different, if you get some of the pre-reqs out of the way at the CC beforehand. In that case, live on campus that first year, have your fun, and make sure by the end of the year that you've found the girlfriend I mentioned above, because after that, its going to get busy.



The 16 grand difference is the cost of living in the dorms for two years, 8 g/year. Home costs nothing. Also I like your point about having fun. You only get 1 life to live.


Haha koleah, were you able to find a job as an ME? I know junior year is going to be the hardest. Thats what I hear. I already have the maths, chemistry, physics, and lower level engineering courses out of the way as well as some electives. Thanks for the advice though, I am thinking living on campus is my best bet.


Living away from home is obviously more desirable, but you should view student-loan debt like the big stinking dead corpse tied around your neck that it is when you get out. Borrow only what is absolutely necessary, especially for undergrad debt.


Damn everyone skip over my HPV comment? #1 STD on college campuses. :slight_smile:

I think this will go down as #1 old guys say save money for later #2 young guys say you have only one life so bang anything not nailed down.

Peace out OP good luck.


I agree with bang everything that's not nailed down, but you don't want to borrow non-dischargable debt to pay for hookers. I'm just sayin'.


Live on campus. Seriously.


Why do neither of your options include getting a job? I only mention this because you say.

"rather own my education and respect my hard-work in earning it. "

Accumulating 40 thousand dollars of debt that you'll pay back by the time you're 45 is not "hard work in earning it". It's just showing up.

Move out, work full time, get your degree and get laid, without much debt.

In short, move out so long as you can afford it.



do you know what mechanical engineering means, as far as course load goes? He said he wants good grades and some semblance of a social life. Where are you fitting in 40 hours a week to work?


lol x2, i'm a biology major and hell I find it hard to work 25 hours a week sometimes.


F=MA and you can't push on a rope?


Yeah, if you've got all that stuff out of the way, then freshman and sophomore year are probably going to be awesome living on campus. But I can't even imagine why you would still need to go a full four years if you've got all of those courses out of the way. Why are you still thinking four years with all that done? Those courses were most of my freshman and sophomore year. If you can skip fresh/soph years you're going to save a lot of money.

And I didn't look very hard coming out of school (grad 2005, from Gonzaga in Washington state). A number of my friends went on to engineering jobs at Boeing though, and some other engineering jobs in different companies around the area. I went into construction management instead.