Tuesday, May 17, 2022
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Commuters: The unsung populace of UMKC

My idea of UMKC has transformed since starting school last fall.

Confusion and anxiety defined my first semester. Then, the way the university was organized seemed elusive.

As I became more involved on campus through U-News and SIFE, things started to click.

I’m sure many students have felt the same. My experiences are not unique, and many freshmen start out equally confused in their transitions from high school to college, if not more so.

UMKC, like Kansas City, lacks a centralized feel, but compensates by offering a happy medium where most people will fall comfortably in place over time.

We’re a commuter college and four-year state university that offers the charm and appeal of a small liberal arts college.

Most schools choose one approach or the other, but I like UMKC’s unique feel.

UMKC was one of four universities I applied to, and looking back, I have few regrets.

First off, community college was never on my list, not because I felt it was inferior, but namely for prestige. I decided to go with a four-year institution from day one.

One of the schools on my list, Tulane, seemed far too elitist for my taste, while the other, William Jewell College, felt small and cliquish.

Had I decided to go to Kansas University, the fourth on my list, I would have had to live on campus, which would have doubled my educational expense.

UMKC allows students to custom-build their college experiences without placing the same expectations other schools place on students to fit in and follow the crowd.

Our student body is diverse in nearly every facet imaginable.

However, this brings with it certain disadvantages, namely that students seem to go their own separate ways and interaction is limited.

This isn’t because of the elitism that defines the lack of interaction between groups at other schools, but because of UMKC’s uniqueness.

What exactly am I getting at?

It’s the disconnect created by trying to be three different schools at once.

As a commuter, I see a different level of interaction and involvement between commuter students and students who live on campus.

Students who live on campus seem to be involved, and commuter students seem to show up for class, leave, and otherwise have very little interest in the functions of the student body.

I am highly active and engaged in two campus groups. However, I still feel separate from campus because I commute and am not part of a fraternity or other groups.

But I guess it’s the price I pay for living on the periphery of campus social life as a commuter.

As great as UMKC may be, it will never be everything to everyone.

nzoschke@unews.com

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1 COMMENT

  1. I went to UMKC last year for my freshmen year and it’s the most expensive community college ever. Unlike you I didn’t have time to join any organizations because I had a job, and I’d rather make money than friends. During the first week when people are still trying to make friends they talk to you, the first question is always, ” what dorm do you live in”. As soon as you say, “I’m a commuter” they immediately end the conversation and walk away. Being a commuter your freshmen year on UMKC’s campus is the kiss of death.

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