Being a commuter student, or student who lives off-campus, comes with its own set of benefits and challenges. Whether you’re attending a local college or university in your town or have an off-campus living arrangement, commuting can give you a sense of freedom and independence. Yet many commuters feel that they are missing out on the “full college experience” by not living on campus. Do not feel alone, the national center for educational statistics finds that around 87 percent of college students commute. So what measures can you take to ensure you have a successful college experience as a commuter?
By: Kevlyn Lewis
- Time management is your best friend. This is a key component to success for all college students but especially commuters. Every day you have to take into consideration factors like traffic, bus schedules, etc. There are bound to be hectic days but planning ahead can make all the difference. Making a habit of checking the weather forecast and planning your outfit the night before will alleviate some stress.
- Keep your car as organized as possible. If you commute by car, you probably find that you spend a lot of time in your car. Since it is a space that you spend quite some time in, eliminating clutter and keeping it as organized as possible will make you feel better. Unorganized spaces can lead to feelings of anxiousness and feel chaotic. I highly recommend storing Armor All wipes in your car, as well as an automotive trash bag. These are relatively inexpensive purchases that can be found at most stores and/or Amazon.
- Be involved on campus. Again, this is very important for all college students, but especially commuters. Fight the urge to attend your classes on campus and then go home immediately after. If possible, try to stick around on campus, meet new people and get involved in clubs/organizations that strike your interest. You will begin to build that sense of community at your institution.
- Grocery shopping. As a commuter myself, I do not want to even think about all the time I spent standing in cafe lines nor how much money I spent. Do yourself a favor and buy some groceries and prepare a lunch and snacks if you have a lengthy day on campus. Every so often cafes are great but making them a part of your everyday routine adds up quickly and it is more time-consuming, so go ahead and eliminate that daily hassle. Pretzels and hummus, granola bars, almonds, smoothies with protein are all great on-the-go snack options. Anything protein packed will keep you feeling full, fuel you for your day and crush cravings for unhealthy foods.
- Consistency is key. Find a good routine that allows you to fulfill your needs and get things done so that you achieve a balance in your personal and school life. Once you do, become relatively consistent with it. Waking up, going to bed, and eating around the same times every day is great for your overall health. Your body will adapt to your schedule and your days will seem smoother.