Back to School | College Commuter Tips

Welcome to day 5 and the final post of my back to school week here on the blog. I had a post every day this week with tips & tricks to crush the clutter early in the school year. Each post was geared for the little ones to those in college.

Day 1 was a back to school supplies haul, day 2 was a portable homework station, day 3 featured tips on how to effectively use a planner, and day 4 was all about lazy organization hacks. Today I’ll be sharing my college commuter tips.

As always, click the links throughout the post for related posts and links to purchase items featured.

I started undergrad in the fall of 2009 I always knew that I wanted to be a commuter. After sharing a room all my life, the last thing I wanted to do was share a room for the next 4 years. I also had an option of getting a car or forming. I went for the car. When I first started school in August of 2009 I didn’t even had my license. Thankfully I got it on my first try 2 years later & that’s when my commuter experience really began.

My dad bought me a 2000 Volkswagen Jetta the Summer of 2009 and for 5 years that car was my baby. My commute was 30-45 minutes on a good day, but some days during rush hour my commute could be an hour, sometimes more. Thankfully I had more good days than bad. Let’s get into the tips!

  • Plan Your Classes | A lot of my classes were either two days or one day a week. The one day a week classes were killer since they were 3 hours and 45 minutes. I highly recommend planning your classes as closely as possible. You don’t have the luxury to go back to a dorm and you’ll have to find something to occupy your time. When you have the chance to make your schedule, make it. Don’t wait. Get the classes that you want on your time. Sometimes I couldn’t avoid having gaps in between classes due to my major and that’s when work study came in.
  • WORK STUDY | I know not everyone can get work study, but if you can, go for it. I was able to get a work study position at my schools radio station which fell right in with my major. I actually got the job from my professor. I only worked 10 days a week, but it was great filler in between my classes.
  • Map Out Your Commute | Similar to planning your classes accordingly, you must map out your commute. If I was having a 10am class, I knew that I had to leave my house by 8:45 to not only beat the traffic, but to get a good parking space as well. I paid for a parking decal which was $107 a year for me. That $107 was well worth it though. I didn’t have to worry about meter parking. Parking on campus was really all about strategy. You had to know when to find a parking space. 10-2pm were peak hours, but by 6pm the parking lot was a ghost town.
  • SNACKS ON SNACKS and other essentials | I always had snacks in my car; non-perishables of course. Those vending machines could get expensive so I always wanted to have a stash of my own. Also since I did have a commute, I typically left a change of clothes in my car incase my friends wanted to go out after class. Lastly, when it came to my car I always had little things just incase I got stuck. For instance, kitty litter is great traction. I’v been stuck more than once and it works like a charm every time.
  • DURABLE BAGS | If you’re a guy, I know you could care less about what bag you’re carrying to class, but ladies are different. At first I always wanted to go for the super cute tote, but it didn’t work. The bags that I always gravitated back to were my Jansport and my VS tote.
  • Sign-up for text alerts | A lot of schools have it to where you can sign up for text alerts that will notify you if class is cancelled for snow, or whatever other weather related issue. I wish these alerts would work for when professors cancel class on a whim. That’s when you make campus friends. Unfortunately you can already be on campus when class is cancelled last minute. Also be sure to check the school website and your email for updates.
  • Know Your Surroundings | Be sure to know the closest gas stations and alternate routes to your surroundings. Also find out where there are places to get food close by. I highly recommend finding like a Wawa or a Quick Check of some sort.

Overall I wouldn’t change begin a commuter for anything. I absolutely loved it and I was still able to be a part of the social life on campus when I wanted to. You can still have the college experience of a lifetime even as a commuter. It’s all about finding out what’s available for you.

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