Over the last two years I’ve read a lot of blog posts about college. Going into college as a freshman was scary and I was intimidated and I wanted to know as much as I could before I got here. But as I was reading them, the one thing that I noticed a concerning lack of was posts about commuter students and what they could expect.
There were so many posts about dorms, and eating college food, and how to not miss classes, etc, but nothing about what would happen if you didn’t live on campus.
The college I go to has a large number of commuters. It’s about 25 miles from my house (a thirty minute drive) and it seemed silly to pay the money to live on campus every year. So I bit the bullet and decide to just commute. I could save some money, live with my parents, not worry about noisy roommates. It seemed ideal. It just took a long time to get used to it.
And now that it’s my second year commuting, I’d like to think that I learned a lot about it in the last year.
10 tips for commuter students:
- Always bring an extra pair of clothes/shoes/etc. This tip is especially important if you live in a rainy climate. There were so many times last year that I got caught in a downpour and had to deal with wet shoes or clothes for the rest of the time I was on campus. I don’t recommend.
- Keep an overnight bag in your car. Especially in the winter. If you have a friend who lives on campus and you know the weather is going to be bad it’s not a terrible idea to keep some overnight stuff with you. That way you won’t have to drive on icy roads or miss classes.
- Make sure you bring a lunch. At least most days. You don’t want to eat fast food everyday and (at least at my school) it’s expensive to eat on campus. If you bring a lunch, it’s better for you and your wallet.
- Talk to people in your classes. It is so much harder to make friends if you don’t live on campus, which makes it that much more important to talk to the people in your classes and make friends there. You’ll want friends for those days you have four hours between classes and nothing to do. Trust me.
- Keep extra headphones in your bag. I always forget my headphones, still. It helps a lot to be able to listen to music or watch youtube videos when you’re waiting for your next class.
- Keep an extra phone/laptop charger on you at all times. When you’re on campus all day long, your stuff dies. Make sure you have a way to recharge it so that you aren’t bored out of your mind.
- Do your homework while waiting for your next class. One nice thing about commuting is that you don’t have a bed on campus to go take naps on. Take advantage of your extra time and go to the library and study. It helps me so much if I get my homework done at school, because I have a harder time focusing on it at home.
- Find a place on campus you like to spend time in. For me, I spend a lot––like, most––of my free time in the library. It’s easy for me to get things done there. Other places you might like: lobbies of buildings, a commuter building (if your school has one), the cafeteria. I go to a small school, so a bigger school might have even more options for you.
- Avoid 8 a.m.’s. I know you probably planned on that anyway. But seriously, avoid them. Especially in spring semester.
- Don’t shut off your alarm. It’s the easiest thing to avoid classes when you are at home. Don’t do it. It’s not worth getting behind. Just go and make your life easier. You can nap when you get home.
All the love,