Amber Potter reflects on her first year as a commuter and offers advice based on what she has learned from her mistakes.
As this semester is coming to a close, I am realizing that I have learned quite a bit thus far. However, I had to make some mistakes to learn what I have. Personally, I believe that the best things in life are learned through mistakes.
The first tip that I have for commuters is to leave early for a good parking spot. Some mornings you may want that extra ten minutes of sleep, but that parking spot will be worth it.
Another tip is to keep extra clothes in your car. This is so helpful. Whether you spill coffee down the front of your white shirt or plan an impromptu sleepover, it is always nice to have a fresh outfit on hand.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a snacker. Therefore, my next tip is keep snacks on hand, either in your backpack or in your car. There is nothing worse than needing a pick me up snack and not having anything. Plus, bringing your own snack keeps you from getting junk food out of the vending machine or from the C-Store.
Another wonderful asset for all college students—and faculty members too—is to have a refillable water bottle with you at all times. Again, this keeps you from spending money on an unhealthy beverage from the drink machine. I swear by my CamelBak and if I forget it, I have a rough day.
While we are on the topic of saving money, pack your lunch! Campus food is expensive and, let’s face it, not that good sometimes. Eating off campus is also expensive. Every once in a while, treat yourself to some Chick-fil-a, but your bank account is going to thank you if it is not an everyday thing.
Make friends with people who live on campus. It is nice to know that you will have somewhere other than the commuter lounge to cook your Ramen or crash after a night of hard studying.
Keep a blanket, or two, in your car. This semester I have napped and watched Netflix in my car countless times. As the weather changes, it will be nice to have a warm blanket to snuggle in. Another bonus: rolled up blankets make great pillows.
Another tip is to keep your car clean all the time. I know this can be hard, but look at it like this: your car is the only personal space you have on campus. If it gets cluttered, it is not going to be a good place to relax between classes. Also, I know I do not want other people getting into my car and seeing a mess. You would not invite company to your home if it were a mess, so why bring company to your car without it being clean?
My final tip to all commuters out there: have fun! Commuting is just one aspect of your college experience and honestly not an important one. College is supposed to be the best time of your life, so do not get caught up in the trivial things and miss out on the fun.