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Emily Bernstein, class of 2016 and RA in Susquehanna, inspects the furniture and condition of a vacant room before her freshmen residents move in.

For one student, living on campus has made all the difference

How different is the life of a commuter versus that if a resident at UMBC? Is it really that different, or are they more similar than we think? To answer this question, we sat down with Dana Kobrin, a junior psychology major, who has experienced life as both a commuter and a resident.

Kobrin has lived the best of both worlds as she was a commuter for her freshman and sophomore years and now lives on campus as a resident assistant.

“Being a commuter has its benefits,” said Kobrin. “You get to choose your own food. This means that you can pack from home or drive to restaurants nearby. Your options don’t stop on campus.” The quality of dining options on campus has been a common complaint.

Commuters also are less likely to spend the extra money on expensive meal plans. “Also, there are financial benefits because you don’t have to live on campus or have a meal plan,” said Kobrin. “Another plus is that if you’re a commuter, you have a car on campus. This is great because you can leave whenever you choose and go to places nearby; sometimes even with friends.”

That being said, for Kobrin, life as a resident also has its attractions. “Well, definitely, there are some issues you run into as a commuter,” she said.

“Of course you need to drive over everyday. I live about 45 minutes from campus, so that’s not fun. It’s especially worse when the weather is bad,” said Kobrin. “Also, parking is a huge issue. If you’ve talked to other commuters, you’ll probably know parking can be a pain.” At least anecdotally, most students seem to have a complaint about parking, or know someone who does.

While not having to park every day is certainly a positive, it’s not Kobrin’s favorite part of living on campus. “Being a resident is definitely different,” she told us. “Of course it’s great to stay on campus, you don’t have to go home everyday and that makes things so much easier.”

“You get to see your friends more often and go to events regularly. It’s pretty hard to go to events later on in the evening if you’re not on campus,” said Kobrin. “It’s nice to go places and come back to sleep on your bed, instead of driving home for almost an hour in traffic.”

Overall, Kobrin said she much preferred her time living on campus to her time as a commuter. She is now a working as an RA in Patapsco and is planning on continuing next year. In this position, she will be living on campus until graduation.