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Difficulties at MC for commuter students

April 5, 2013

As a writer there are times that articles or opinion columns just seem to fall into your lap.

That is almost literally what happened one day when I was in the commuter lounge. Since I’m a non-traditional commuting student living in Galesburg, I spend a lot of time in the lounge between classes. One day as a joke, I said out loud that maybe I should do an article about being a commuter student. That instantly got everyone’s attention, so one day I talked with the various people in there about problems they face being commuter students.
The biggest problem they all expressed is that they have certain professors who are not willing to acknowledge and work with commuter students. Most of those I talked to are non-traditional students. That mainly means that we have families, jobs or other obligations that we have to fulfill.

More examples of common problems include professors giving no advance warning on mandatory events, unwillingness to modify finals testing times, no acknowledgement of work related time constraints and issues caused by incremental weather.

One student told me that they were told by a professor that “it isn’t my fault you are a commuter student” – as if being a commuter student was chosen by the student and not a result of other life obligations.

The other major issue voiced was the challenge for commuter students to be a part of the Monmouth College community. Even though we go to class with many of students, class time is not the optimal time to develop relationships and network with others.

While Monmouth College has much to offer in programs and sports, it is difficult for commuter students with families and jobs to be able to attend these events. This problem is especially true when events are scheduled for 8 p.m. or later. This seems to apply to group work as well. Many times traditional students want to meet at late hours to do group work. This is very hard to do for the commuter student.

I do want to make something clear. All of my professors have been very understanding of the difficulties presented to me through working full time, having a family and also having been sick much of the last year. However, my experience has not always been the experience of my fellow commuter students. No commuter student is expecting to be allowed special privileges over other students. There seems just to be a general desire from commuters for professors and the college to acknowledge there are those with special circumstances that are also a part of the Monmouth College Community.

Elisha French
Contributing Writer

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