Everyone looks forward to the college experience; the dorm life, the independence away from your parents, crappy frat parties and even crappier food that is served in the cafeteria. But some people have a different college experience. Waking up super early to drive to school, driving around the parking lot a hundred and two times in order to find a spot, walking between buildings and your car all day and best of all winter driving; these are the commuters, every college has them just no one wants to talk about it. Here are my tips to you if you happen to be commuting to college.
1. Find a buddy who lives on campus.
This is so important because things can happen especially if you live in an area where the winters are rough. In cases where you can't or it is unsafe to drive home having someone who lives on campus that you can crash with is always a good bet. If you happen to enjoy a party every now and then, having a buddy on campus to crash with can be the safest option for you and everyone around you also.
2. Get involved.
One thing that I feel is so hard being a commuter compare to a resident is the ability and opportunity to get involved in clubs and activities on campus. It is so much easier when you live on campus to go to club meetings and do things after school hours, while being a commuter its harder because often times going to school activities requires you to find something to do on campus for awhile or make two trips. My advice is to do it anyway, find a way to make it work because you will totally regret it when you are a junior or senior and haven't done anything fun and or resume building.
3. A reliable vehicle is a must.
We have all been there and done that when it comes to cars and the bull crap that can be associated with them. If you do not have a reliable vehicle getting back and forth to school is almost impossible. I can not count the number of times I ended up missing classes and other important things because my car was broken down. If at all possible then getting a reliable car will save so much more hassle then you will know,
4. Pack a lunch.
Unfortunately being a commuter means you do not get the option of having a meal plan,which means on days you spend a lot of time on campus or happen to be hungry means you have to purchase food from somewhere which after awhile can add up. Packing a lunch can help keep the cost of food down and help you have healthier meals. Plus you get to avoid the crappy cafeteria food the residents put up with.
5. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
It is so important to wear comfortable clothes and especially shoes because as a commuter chances are you will be walking more than the average resident. Without a dorm to stop and change in if things go wrong not wearing the right clothes can be embarrassing. I suggest bringing and extra set of clothes and keeping them in your car just in case.
6. Bring something to do during down time.
If you have some time between classes it is important to bring something to do so you don't get bored. Bring a laptop, cell phone, homework, or a book anything that can keep you busy and keep you from going home and skipping class. Use the time to catch up on some work, socialize with friends or even go to a club meeting, just use it wisely.
7. Find somewhere to go in between classes.
Find somewhere to go that is easily accessible all year round and relatively quiet and less traveled. A student lounge, library and cafeteria work best. Some place to get work done if you need to or spend time with some friends if you like.
8. Never schedule early morning classes or night classes.
If it can be avoided night classes and the elusive 8 am should be avoided for every commuter. It is almost impossible to find the energy to wake up way early to make it to campus and it is even more impossible to stay on campus for up to 12 hours of your day when you maybe have three classes, so just take my advice and don't do it.
9. Schedule classes as close to each other as possible.
Scheduling classes as close together as possible will make you life as easy as it can be. Your day will go so much faster and easier if you do not have to wait hours between classes. It will also help you avoid going home and staying home in between classes.
10. Check your email constantly.
This is so important. You do not want to waste a trip to school when the professor cancels. You also do not want to be the only sucker to be on campus when there happens to be the once a year snow day.
11. Carry a backpack.
Always carry a backpack. Everything and anything you need, books, pencils, pens, jacket, everything should be with you in your backpack to avoid unnecessary trips to your car and to avoid forgetting anything at home.
12. Enjoy your unique college experience.
The most important thing is to enjoy your college experience no matter how unconventional and different it may be. College is what you make it so whether you are a commuter or resident it is up to you to make it worth the four years of your life. Enjoy the time while you can because you will regret it if you do not.