The Ice Cream Social is Mandatory? You’re Kidding


Brad Augenstein

Bradley Augenstein, Reporter

As the fall semester begins, those who dorm on campus are starting become acquainted with their new places of living.  Those who commute, however, have a different outlook on life as a Misericordia student. As someone who’s been a commuter for a year now, this way of student life has its highs and lows.

Choosing between being a commuter and dorming on campus comes down to preference. For some students, being on campus 24/7 is something they’ve been looking forward to for years. These students strive for freedom and independence after having to obey their parents for years. Other students may simply want a change in scenery to focus on things such as their future and upcoming schoolwork. Others may also have no choice, as they live far away from campus.

For me, I don’t think I’d last a day dorming here. It’s nothing against the school. The campus is great, the Chick-fil-A has good food, and there’s plenty to do around here; however, when my day is done, I want to be completely detached from the school. I like to go to my own house where I can unwind and prepare for the next day, rather than walk a couple feet to my dorm room.

I do commend those who dorm here, though, since they are willing to fully immerse themselves in the college environment. Dormers like to move on with their lives and start a new chapter while I don’t like change.

Being a commuter does have its perks, including avoiding homesickness, being able to visit familiar places, and not having to arrange rides home during long breaks in the semester. All my friends (besides one) also commute to their respective schools, too, so we are all able to hang out the way we are used to. However, with every pro there is a con to the lifestyle of being a student.

One major con of commuter life that sticks out is how you can manage your schedule. Structure and availability of classes can leave big gaps in your day, which can make your time here awkward when you don’t have a dorm or house to go back to. Luckily, there is an ample amount of work given by professors and many spots for that work to get done, so our time can be occupied.

Some commuters, including myself, may even drive home for a break and come back for their next class. This was the case in my first semester, where my classes were picked for me and I was given a 5-hour break in between classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Again, this is an awkward scenario as I pretty much just sat home and waited, instead of being done for the day.

When looking back on my first year as a commuter, my mind immediately goes to one thing: orientation. The Class of 2025’s orientation was well organized and, by the end of it, I felt like I had been very well introduced to the campus. The issue was the icebreakers and timing of said icebreakers that did not seem to take commuters into consideration.

The structure of the orientation had important aspects like touring the campus to know where specific classes are, grouping with and getting to know other students in your major, and meeting with your advisor. Those events were important and something all students needed to be present for, but what came after left me shocked.

Over the course of the four days, those important tasks would be taken care of and, upon looking at the schedule, I saw things like a game show, an ice cream social, and yoga. Due to the nature of these events, I assumed they had more flexibility in terms of attendance. I was wrong.

On the first day, I went home at 5 p.m. after one of the presentations. Had I not left, I would’ve had to stay much later for what they called a “game show.” Once I got home, I checked my phone to see a text from our orientation group chat that read, “Where’s Brad?” I was at home.

Luckily, I wasn’t the only one missing from the group, so they texted us that the events were mandatory and moved on with the rest of the festivities. The next day came around and I decided to stay the entire time to make up for the time I had missed the previous day. After watching an artist paint murals upside down (which was really cool, but too late) I left at 9:00 at night. This was a sign.

While driving home on the back roads of Dallas in the dark, I realized I couldn’t stay that late again. The next day’s schedule didn’t look as busy, so I made sure I’d be home far earlier than 9:00 at night.

With that day’s important tasks out of the way, I planned to leave. Other members of my group were getting restless as well, since we also had a full week of school after this multiple day orientation.

The day closed with an “ice cream social,” an event I did not think required my attendance. Another member of the group asked if the social was mandatory and the orientation leader responded, “Yes.” I couldn’t believe my ears. The ice cream social was said to be mandatory.

I already had my mind made up; I was not staying another few hours for events like an “ice cream social,” so I went home. Nobody asked about my absence and I carried on with the rest of my day. The last day of the orientation ended earlier than all the other days, so I got that out of the way and began my first year at Misericordia.

Overall, the orientation did a great job at getting me used to the campus, but it was the beginning of what, I feel, is a recurring theme: commuters are always put in awkward spots.

At the end of the day, it is my decision to commute to school, so the blame does also fall on me, but I feel some expectations don’t factor in those who commute. Maybe it’s just the way I like to live or the fact I try to get everything done for the day as quickly as possible.  I do, however, believe commuters are sometimes forgotten.