OPINION | You’re missing out on the college experience by only coming to campus for class

UCCS is primarily a commuter school, and commuter students typically don’t hang around campus once class is over. It wasn’t until I got a job on campus that I started spending more time here and realized everything I was missing out on. By just treating the campus as a place where I attend class, I missed out on a lot of opportunities the campus offered.

I’m not suggesting to spend all your free time outside of class and work wandering the halls of the University Center to take in the scenery. No one has time for that. Instead, I suggest taking some time and seeing what else the campus can offer you besides the anxiety of classes.

For us commuters, college is only one facet of our lives. It’s easier to have the “traditional” college experience when you live on campus, but if you have to commute every morning, college begins to feel more like a job. It was this mentality that stopped me from spending more time than I needed to on campus.

We place a lot of pressure on ourselves throughout the semester, trying to get the best grades possible as if the success of our future career rests entirely on each assignment we turn in. This attitude isn’t sustainable, and it’s something we all will regret when we reflect on how we spent our college years.

College is meant to be a space where you can explore new ideas, see different perspectives and experience life in a way that wasn’t possible before you were an adult. Of course, your classes should be a priority, but don’t forget to take this opportunity to explore your interests. Don’t just use the campus to study and go to class. Take some time to check out the various extracurricular activities UCCS offers.

The Student Outdoor Learning Experience at the Rec Center gives students low-cost options to try outdoor adventures. They have trips like skydiving and snowboarding for the adrenaline junkies or more chill options like hiking and soaking in a hot spring. They also have classes you can take to learn how to do anything from rock climbing to boxing.

The idea of joining a fraternity or sorority if you’re in your mid- to late-twenties is unappealing to say the least, but clubs and club sports can give the same sense of community without the stigma attached to Greek life. There are over 100 clubs at UCCS, covering all interests from Dungeons and Dragons to hockey.

Most of us will only be in college once, and it’s past time we asked ourselves if we really want to look back and only remember college as the time we spent in class? Because if you’re a commuter student and the only time you come to campus is for class, those will be your only memories.

Or do we want to look back on our college years and remember the new people we connected with and the experiences we had by stepping out of our comfort zone? I know which I’d rather have.

Photo courtesy of collegedata.com.