As a commuter student of almost three years, I feel like I’ve experienced everything, and therefore, have acquired some of the most helpful tips for commuter students. I’ve walked miles in the rain in shoes that were giving me blisters. Name a dead battery and I’ve dealt with it, whether it’s a phone, laptop, or even a car. I’ve forgotten water for a ten-hour day of classes, and most recently, I walked back to my car in a thunderstorm so dangerous that I’m still surprised I survived it. When you’re a commuter student, you experience so many things that regular students don’t, but luckily, you’ll have these tips for commuter students to look to when you need them!
1. Be Prepared for Any Situation
You’d be surprised at the insane situations you’ll find yourself in as a commuter student. When I first decided to commute to my college, my mom gave me a tiny little case filled with everything I could’ve needed: contact solution, a sewing kit, Band-Aids, and everything in between. It’s saved my life on more than one occasion. Preparedness is especially important if you live in an area with unpredictable weather, like I do. There are days where I’ll leave my house with sunglasses and short sleeves, but by the end of the day I’m walking to my car with a raincoat and an umbrella. You never know what you’re going to come across, and that’s why preparedness is one of my number one tips for commuter students!
2. Always Carry Snacks
As a commuter student, there’s a fairly good chance that you don’t have a meal plan. There’s also a fairly good chance that you’ll spend sun up to sun down on campus. Always keep snacks in your backpack, even if you think you won’t get hungry during the day. It’s always good to have a back up, because you never know what may happen. You may end up stuck on campus for longer than expected, or you may get struck by hunger before your 2:30 class.
3. Get Friendly with Your Car
No, I don’t mean in the TLC show My Strange Obsession sense, I mean in the sense that your car will become your best friend. You will spend an exorbitant amount of time driving to school every day, and some days, your car may become your bed to take naps in between classes. Get used to spending more time in your car than on your campus!
4. Get AAA
One of the benefits of commuting to school is that you probably live fairly close to most of your family still. That means that when you run out of gas, your car won’t start, or anything in between happens, you can turn to a family member for help. However, there are times that family isn’t available, and that is where AAA comes in. A year ago, I would’ve thought that this tip was ridiculous, but then my car died on the first snowfall, after I had walked three miles back to my car. I was stuck sitting in my freezing car, waiting for my mom to get off work and pick me up. Now, I’m a firm believer that AAA is a commuter student necessity.
5. Buy an Extra Set of Chargers
It can be cumbersome to lug your various different chargers for your electronic devices around all day. You can usually find fairly cost-friendly duplicates online, and believe me, you will be glad you did. You never know when you may be stuck in the library all afternoon, waiting for your group to meet, or when your phone will randomly die when you’re still on campus for a few more hours. Keeping extra chargers in your backpack is something that you may not think of at first, but will be glad that you have!
6. Find All of the Parking Lots in Advance
I started commuting to school halfway through my freshman year of college, and since that day, I have walked approximately 320 miles in the snow. (Yes, I really did the math.) This semester, I found a parking lot that could have cut that number down by at least 100 miles. Before each semester, drive around the buildings your classes are in and scope out the closest parking lots. It may just save you 100 miles of walking!
7. Think when Planning
You can’t plan your classes as freely as students who live on campus. You can’t necessarily plan all of your classes in the morning and then schedule a class for 8 PM. The upside to this, though, is that you become a master of planning your classes, and may be able to schedule things so you can get a day or two off!
Do you commute to college? What are your tips for commuter students? Leave them in the comments!