Being a commuter student doesn’t have to be a drag. Here are five tips to help get the most out of your college experience and feel at home on campus.
When the average morning includes sitting in traffic for 40 minutes while ignoring honking cars on all sides, it can be hard to feel enthusiastic about commuting to college.
Especially when at the other end of that drive, your classmates are rolling out of their bed in the dorms and walking just five minutes across campus to class. But fear not, commuting can make for a college experience that’s just as awesome as the typical on-campus dorm experience.
There are many reasons to commute to school rather than live on campus: maybe college is close enough to home that commuting makes sense, perhaps you simply prefer to live off campus.
In many cases it’s cheaper to live at home (or even in an apartment) as opposed to school dorms. Whatever the reason, commuting doesn’t have to be a drag. Here are five tips to help get the most out of your college experience and feel at home on campus.
1. Spend some quality time on campus.
Many commuters, myself included, tend to streamline their school days: they go to class, take notes, say hello to a few people, and then head straight back home. This is counterproductive.
After all, it’s hard to feel like you belong in any place when you do your best to get in and out like it’s the McDonald’s drive through. When you have the time, slow down and enjoy your school.
Try getting a job on campus or pull up a desk in the library to study. The key is spending a little quality time on campus outside of class.
2. Find a community to get involved with.
If you’re feeling a bit lost in the ocean that is the campus community, try getting involved with a group of people who share your interests.
Dorm living provides a community for students to connect to, but if you’re not living on top of your peers all semester you’ll have to find another way to get involved.
Whether you love rock climbing, French or football, your college campus is bound to offer a club or team you’ll be enthusiastic about.
Connecting with a group like this will make it easy to bond with people. Plus, extracurricular activities look great on a resume.
3. Have a little fun!
Most campuses offer all sorts of fun events to enjoy, be it a musical put on by the theater department, a concert, a comedy show or a football game.
Some of the greatest times to be had on campus won’t necessarily be related to your studies.
4. Give yourself some down time by scheduling classes with breaks in between them.
Quality time is the key to any good relationship, including the one between a student and his or her campus.
Now that you’re spending more time on campus, scheduling yourself some nice breaks between classes can make finding time to enjoy your school a bit easier.
Much like shutting off your Internet connection can be a great way to force yourself to get homework done, giving yourself a reason not to flee home (that reason being the next class) can be a great way to force yourself to seek out some exciting memories to pass the time.
5. Check to see if your college offers Learning Communities, or a similar study program.
A Learning Community is a group of classes, typically two or three, with a theme linking the courses. Students take all of the classes together, winding up with the same classmates for the all of the courses involved in the Learning Community.
If it feels like the subjects you’re taking for general ed are all over the board, this can be a great way to help add a little continuity, as well as allowing you to get closer to your classmates and professors. This sort of program may not be specifically labeled as a Learning Community, so consider looking for an honors program on campus or a study program within your major.
Remember that your college experience will be whatever you make of it, so get a little creative and enjoy your time as a commuter!
Whatever you choose, this is an insanely exciting time of life so it only makes sense to get as much out of it as you can.
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