The Declassified Commuting Survival Guide

The Declassified Commuting Survival Guide

Commuting can save you a lot of money on room and board, but if not done properly, it can complicate just about everything else. And so in a college full of friendly people, great teachers, and delicious packed lunches, Olivia Gordon – that’s me – and my two years’ experience try to do the impossible: create a guide to help you survive commuting.*
*Your results may vary.
TIP #1: Schedule!
This tip is number one for a reason. College involves a lot of work that takes time, and you have to account for travel and schedule gaps. It can be difficult to create a truly efficient schedule with all those required classes, and at some point you’re probably going to find yourself with two hours of schedule blackness between classes. The goal is to use every moment to your advantage. If you’re not in class, use the time to study or do your homework – and that includes canceled class times (one of the toughest obstacles for a commuter). Commuters have the advantage here: we can’t use free time to nap! When registration rolls around, pick as many back-to-back classes as you can, or only classes that happen on certain days. One semester, I was in seven classes, but only had to come in three days a week! The days I had at home were perfect for staying caught up with my assignments!
TIP #2: Connect!
Just because you don’t live on campus doesn’t mean your college experience should be any less full! Engage with on-campus ministries and make friends! Find the place where you belong, and where you can grow! It can be a chore to drive back and forth to events or meetings, and sometimes it takes a little extra effort to really connect, but the rewards are well worth it when you find yourself surrounded by close friends and with a schedule full of things you love. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra time on the road to be happy at school.
TIP #3: Eat!
This is a big one: you can’t get into the dining commons without a meal plan unless you pay a substantial fee per meal. Packing your food is definitely the way to go! It’s cheaper, you don’t have to wait in line, and you can even eat right in your classroom before class starts (or during class – most professors don’t mind). Don’t worry – you won’t miss out on any lunchroom community; people join me while I’m eating in various places around campus all the time. Plus, there’s always people (and napkins) in the Anvil and Student Center! Just remember, only snack foods are allowed in the library.
TIP #4: Prepare!
When you leave home in the morning, you need to have everything you’ll need throughout the day with you. That means laptop, books, pens, stickers, headphones, and other essentials. You have to drag it all around campus with you, though, so be sure to decide ahead of time what you really need and what can stay at home. It may take some trial and error, but soon you’ll know just how lightly you can pack each morning.And for those days when you have to bring a million things that would be torture to carry? There are lockers in the commuter lounge that are free for you to use! Just bring your own lock. Sometimes things happen and you have to stay later than you expected. Keep emergency supplies like an extra set of clothes and some nonperishable snacks in your car, and you’ll always be ready for the little surprises that pop up. For bigger surprises, be sure to have a friend on campus with a place for you to stay over. And of course, always leave home a little early – traffic and all that.
TIP #5: Benefit!
Commuting saves you a ton of money. There’s plenty of other benefits, too! Such as the fantastic commuter lounge in the back of the Anvil, complete with vending machines and bathrooms; premium parking at the heart of campus, right next to Cardone Hall and the Anvil; and, of course, there’s the great community of commuters on campus, facilitated by our lovely and committed commuter advocate. We have gatherings, events, and inside jokes just for us!
Commuting is a great option for those living nearby, and there are all kinds of reasons to do it! Always remember, this is your campus, too. This is your college experience – you can make the most of it from a distance just as easily as you can living in a dorm!