Commuting sucks. There, I said it. I lived on campus for about five minutes my freshman year. I loved it… Until I realized that I don’t like dorm rooms or bunk beds enough to pay $800/month. (Also, the food in the dining halls wasn’t as good as my mom’s.) I moved back home shortly. But, I will admit that commuting was difficult for me. That first semester, I lived at home with my parents, about 30 minutes from campus. Here are a few tips…
- Choose your schedule wisely. I made the #RookieMistake of taking an 8am class during my freshman year. Between the 45 minute drive and the amount of time it took to find a parking spot, I was late (and sleepy) more often than not. Try not to give yourself super long breaks. I didn’t have the luxury of going to my dorm room for a nap in between classes.
- Plan your meals. Unlike those who live on campus, you can’t just walk back to your dorm room or the dining hall for breakfast and lunch. And the last thing you want to do is eat Chic Fil A every day. Talk about draining your bank account. I never left the house without a banana or a granola bar. If I was going to be there all day, I’d pack a lunch too. Some schools have commuter meal plans. Do the math. I only went to class 3 days a week, so I was better off bringing my lunch.
- Be prepared. College is different than high school. For one, it isn’t uncommon to show up to class only to find out that the professor canceled class. There aren’t substitute teachers. So if your class is canceled or lets out early, it’s nice to have something to do. Bring a book or your notecards to study for an upcoming exam. If you’re all set, have some headphones on hand to listen to music.
- Dress appropriately. I always carried a cardigan in my backpack. Some buildings were colder than others. Even on an extremely hot day, I’d get cold in my statistics class. Also, I ALWAYS kept an umbrella in my car. If there’s even a chance of rain while you’re on campus, TAKE IT WITH YOU. Nothing is worse than running to class in wet shoes.
- Invest in an audiobook. It sounds boring, I know. But with as much time as you’re going to be spending in your car, you’ll be glad you did. Whether it’s a “for pleasure” book or one of your text books, it’ll come in handy when you’re stuck in traffic or looking for a parking spot.
- Befriend other students. It’s easy to start to feel “out of the loop” as the commuter student. Everyone else hangs out at the local bars and hangouts in a college town, meanwhile you’re sitting on I35 behind a semi. It never hurts to befriend other students. Especially the ones who, like you, commute to school. I befriended a classmate my freshman semester who, as it turns out, lived in the same area as me. We stayed friends after that semester and even carpooled to school a couple of times.
This blog was written by FTWCCU Marketing/Digital Commerce Assistant, Sammie Arriola.