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Growing up 20 minutes away: The good (and bad) of not commuting from home

A handful of students from Columbus choose to live close to campus for the proximity and for the independence. Credit: Michael Lee | Engagement Editor

I’m a Columbus kid.

I was born at the Wexner Medical Center, have lived in Dublin, a suburb of Columbus that’s 20 minutes away from Ohio State, my entire life. Now I live in an off-campus apartment.

While I could have commuted from home the past 3 1/2 years — and I definitely have debated it — I decided not to. So now, I’m here to look back at what I’ve seen as the pros and cons of my decision.

Positives

The most positive thing I’ve learned is how to live independently. This has been prevalent since I moved into my own apartment rather than living in the residence halls.

Living on my own means I can cook what I want, which is something I have loved doing. I can experiment with recipes and cook to my own tastes without having to worry about what others think about my food.

Another benefit is the proximity. When I first came to Ohio State I majored in music education and then music performance. Living near campus let me utilize the School of Music’s resources whenever I wanted, such as using the practice rooms late at night.

Being so close to home but not living there freed me from worrying about when to leave campus, how long it would take to get home or when I would need to get home to eat dinner with my family. Even now as a student journalist, being close to campus prevents me from worrying about how far I have to travel to get to interviews if I don’t have to be on campus, and I can work without having to go too far from home.

This will probably hold true for most majors, and being closer to the resources available to you is always a plus.

Finally, I can still see my family whenever I want. While I don’t actually go home too often, I’m always close by whenever they want to celebrate a birthday or a holiday when Ohio State is in session, such as Chinese New Year that happened earlier in the week.

Negatives

I’m grateful and fortunate enough to have the choice to live at home, and while I noted that independence is one of the positives of living around campus, it comes at a price — literally.

Not only am I paying extra to stay closer to campus, but I’m also buying groceries for meals, which comes to my second point: I struggle to consistently cook my own meals.

This inconsistency often leads to ordering takeout, which adds to the physical cost of living away from home.

These two problems also mean I eat unhealthier than I would at home. I love to cook, but something I’ve been trying to improve on is cooking healthier, and that means cooking less food and portioning what I eat. If I commuted, I know I would be a lot healthier than I am now, because growing up, the meals my mom cooked were definitely a lot better than what I make.

What’s the Verdict?

All in all, I’ve had a really good experience living on my own, despite being so close to home. For those locals who are still debating whether they should commute themselves, I would say there’s no wrong answer if you have the choice. These past four years, I’ve been able to grow as a person on my own and learn so much from the people I’ve met due to living close to campus.

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