Being a college commuter is a different experience from the traditional on-campus lifestyle a majority of college students lead. Various needs and interests lead students down unique pathways that may not be ideal for living on campus. Maybe you just live that close, or maybe college housing has already filled up. Commuter students often have a harder time adjusting to a college culture from a distance, but there are dozens of ways to make it a wonderful and engaging experience tailored to your needs.
The Commute Itself
Universities and colleges often include bus passes with tuition, but this isn’t always the case. Taking public transit when possible is helpful. When it’s included in tuition, you don’t have to worry about the added costs for parking, car maintenance, and other costs associated with driving yourself. Universities will typically have a limited shuttle available most of the day for students and according to attorneys specializing in bus accidents, the risk of injury is pretty low compared to car accidents. Taking advantage of these options will save you money and offer you quick and easy ways to campus.
Scheduling classes so they fit seamlessly with a public-transit schedule may not always be possible, but it will make your life easier. You can use commute time to read that last-minute article your professor sent you, or catch up on emails. Make sure you always have headphones on hand to reduce distractions.
Balancing Work-Life Commitments with School
Commuter students often work a part-time or full-time job in addition to a full course load. The last thing you want to do at the end of class is attend a networking event on campus, but these are valuable tools for enhancing your college experience and connecting you to the university or college community. Carving out time for even a few of these events per semester will make your experience richer and more fulfilling.
If the norm at your school is dorm living, your professors may not know you commute until you tell them. Letting your professor know you commute will make it easier on you when it comes to group projects or being late to class. A student who lives a short walk from campus doesn’t have the same reasons for being late as a student who takes a 45-minute bus ride to class each day.
Take Time for Yourself
If you find it difficult to balance everything around classes, take at least one hour each day for yourself. That hour can be filled with trying a new club, having a lunch date, or sitting at the campus cafe and reading for fun. These little things will make all the difference in your college-commuter experience and are well worth the extra effort.
As a college commuter you will have a vastly different education experience than most of your peers. As you take part in classes, try to take part in life as a college student as well. While juggling all these responsibilities and commuting can be daunting, they’ll also help you have a more well-rounded experience.