Living Off-Campus Is What You Make Of It
Welcome! I’m Dylan Moon, a junior in the Science, Technology & Society program, pursuing two minors. I hail from the high desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I acclimated to the scenery shift in an on-campus dorm, but have since lived off-campus.
At the start of sophomore year, I found an Airbnb in Union City. My first order of business was to buy a bike, which I found on Craigslist. A train ride to Jersey City with $120 in cash, and I was cruising on a royal blue racing biking from the 1980s. If I booked it, I could make the one-way trip from campus to my apartment (or vice versa) in a little over 10 minutes. I’d get to campus early, if for no other reason than to let my sweat evaporate over breakfast in Pierce Dining Hall.
I will never forget starting my days with the occasional detour to the waterfront. On a clear day, the sun reflecting off the water, the wind on my face, riding along, I could imagine no better commute. I wouldn’t have had that experience living on campus. Nor would I have had the clarity of perspective that comes with leaving campus every evening.
The second semester, I was invited to 538 Washington, Stevens-Leased housing, by an RA I became friends with through Student Government. While I enjoyed living in Union City, biking every day, this made life easier. Living now only a 7-minute walk from campus, I didn’t need to pack everything I might need for the day. It was easier to stay on campus late for clubs and events. The winter months are also brutal. Riding my bike in the sleet, snow, and cold would have been rough, particularly on days needing formal attire. Already at the end of the first semester, I found myself taking public transit due to weather. And once, when snow halted the bus schedule, I slept on a friend’s on-campus dorm floor.
Living at 538 Washington with two great roommates was an experience I’ll hold with me. Every evening, I still benefited from leaving the Stevens bubble. But being closer, I enjoyed more time for friends and extracurriculars, pledged a fraternity, and felt closer with the Stevens community. The same would have been possible in other nearby apartments, including non-Stevens-Leased.
No matter where you live, it can be a great experience if you find ways to enjoy it. When I told people I lived three miles away, I would get sympathetic responses, as though it were a hassle. If your expectation is to roll out of bed and land in your first class of the morning, it is. But if you enjoy the wind, sun, fresh air, and a healthy heart, like I do, I could hardly have lived somewhere better. That said, having great roommates closer to campus came with its benefits. But it’s hard to say if one was better. I made the most of both. And wherever you decide to live, I hope you do too.
Commuting at Stevens
Hello! My name is Lukas Kolarek and I’m a 4/4 Environmental Engineering student at Stevens. I’ve been commuting since my first year and I can’t think of a more accessible college around. About 36% of students live off campus, with commuters making up a large part of that number. The education at Stevens is amazing, and you’ll quickly fall in love with the area. Hoboken is in a prime location for all methods of transportation whether it be car, bus, train, and light rail. If you’re a driver, there’s accommodation for parking in the 8th Street lot given you have the appropriate hang tag (which can be obtained from the Howe Building). In addition, there are other locations on campus you can park. New Jersey Transit buses stop one block away from Stevens and Hoboken Terminal is only about a 15 minute walk from campus.
If you have any doubts coming into Stevens as a commuter freshman year, there shouldn’t be any worries at all. There’s a place for everyone at Stevens and it’s easy to get hooked on campus involvement! The food in Hoboken is great, and you’ll find yourself wanting to try something new every day. Stevens isn’t the type of college where you’ll just travel straight to class and home. On the down time between classes, there’s plenty of places on campus and Hoboken to hang out with friends. On top of that, New York is right around the corner with the PATH trains. You’ll never feel like you’re confined to one spot at Stevens.
Clubs and campus organizations will ensure that there’s never a dull moment for you here. The Commuter Student Union is one of these organizations and can help with any questions you have regarding your freshman year commuting experience. Coming onto campus freshman year, I had no idea what to expect. It was an entirely new environment which would make anyone nervous, but orientation week is definitely a time commuters should fully experience. Your PL’s will make you feel welcome and there’s a ton of people to meet and friends to make. It’s just what you need to kickoff freshman year!