During college, living on campus is commonplace for many first year students. However, after the first year, many students choose to live off campus. There are several reasons someone may want to commute from off campus, rather than living on campus, including, but not limited to: saving money, having more privacy, distancing themselves from potential distractions, etc.

We’ve put together some tips to make your experience as a college commuter easier and more conducive to success in college!

Schedule Classes Accordingly

Since you’ll likely only want to make one trip to/from your college campus each day, it’s heavily advised that you schedule all of your classes consecutively so that you don’t have long gaps during the day with nothing to do. Be sure to leave yourself some time to eat lunch, travel from one class to the next, and complete any other duties/responsibilities during the day.

Know Your Route

Plan and memorize your path for commuting so that you can reduce your time dedication and be comfortable during your travels. If you’re driving a car, this could include memorizing the time of day or routes that avoid traffic. If you’re taking the bus, know the different bus routes/schedules so that you can be sure to arrive on time and are aware of the different pick-up and drop-off locations.

Leave Earlier Than Anticipated

You never know what life will throw at you (as 2020 has certainly taught us), so always be sure to leave more time to commute to your destination than you anticipate you’ll need. Whether it’s severe traffic, an unexpected incident like a flat tire or fender bender, or any variety of setbacks, you’ll be much safer giving yourself extra time. This will allow you to always be timely, relieve any stress caused by running late, and it’ll help you to form a productive routine.

Keep Your Car and/or Backpack Stocked with Essentials

There are several items you’ll want to make sure you have ready when commuting to your college campus. It’s a great idea to keep these items in your car or your backpack, if you’re able to:

  • Snacks – for any cravings throughout the day and to provide more brain power
  • Charger for Phone and Laptop
  • A Spare Outfit – for any unexpected occurrences
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Rain Jacket, Boots, and Umbrella – you don’t want to show up to class drenched!
  • Calculator
  • Flash Drive
  • Extra School Supplies (Notebooks, Pens/Pencils, Planner, etc.)

Be Productive During Your Commute

If you’re driving a car to your college campus, listen to an audio book relevant to the classes you’re taking. If you’re on the bus, you have a great place to study and complete assignments. Since you’ll be spending a significant amount of your time performing the daily duty of commuting, you might as well make it as productive as possible to enhance your academic capabilities and leave yourself with more free time away from commuting and school.

Carpool, If You Can!

If you have a roommate, this will be abundantly easier to do! You can create a schedule to determine who drives on what day, allowing you to have more time to focus on other activities during your “off-days” from commuting. Additionally, it’ll save you a lot of mental stress from avoiding the battle with traffic every day (it even helps to lessen traffic congestion for everyone!) Carpooling is also a great way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, limit costs associated with commuting (fuel), and it can help you to form a better relationship with the person that you’re commuting with.

Find Your Campus “Sweet Spots”

Finding places that you can spend your downtime between classes is essential to the college commuter experience. This can include your favorite places to grab a bite to eat, your favorite places to study and complete classwork, or serene and relaxing places to unwind. You’ll also want to make note of places with accessible electrical outlets so that you can charge your phone and/or laptop during breaks.

Make Sure You’re Still Involved in Campus Life

Even if you don’t live on campus, it’s still important to be involved in campus life and make the most of your college experience. Joining a club or organization is a great way to find fellow students that share similar interests to you. Attending campus events will allow you to meet new people and be involved with your school’s activities. If you need to make some extra cash during college, you can always try to find a job on campus to gain some money and work experience; it will also limit the amount of time you dedicate to driving to your job.

If you’re new to commuting, it may be a bit of an adjustment at first, but following these steps will help you to have a successful academic and social experience even while living off campus.

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