I’ve learned so much over the course of this year. Things haven’t always been perfect and I’ve learned a lot more than just psychology.
1. Keep extra clothes in your car
I have a bin in my trunk with different clothes. Some of it is work out gear and some backup outfits for emergencies. I also kept a duffel bag of sneakers during the entire Spring semester.
2. Join clubs, organizations, and/or intramural sports
This is where I met most of my current friends on campus. It also helped me get acclimated without feeling lonely.
3. Make friends with other commuters
One of my first friends at FAU was an orientation leader who also happened to be a commuter. She showed me a lot of the local restaurants and fun things to do in the city close to campus.
4. Try out public transportation
I have the privilege of commuting to school with my own car, but I know that’s not the case for everyone. Even if it is your circumstance, there may be times when your car has a problem you can’t fix in time for class. Or, you might not be feeling well enough to drive. Sometimes, you just want to take a more eco-friendly route. Learning how to take public transportation is a great skill to have as an adult. I take the train to school every so often.
5. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
There are going to be so many times when things don’t go your way. I forgot my backpack at home the second day of school. I live thirty minutes away and I wouldn’t have time to go back home, come back to school, then find parking. By the way, parking took me forty minutes, alone.
Commuting isn’t always going to be easy, but these experiences help shape us in more ways than we can imagine. That experience led me to The Office of First Generation Student Success where I got a drawstring bag, notepad, and pen for my class. I was also able to cry there for a little bit before finding my class. Now I go to The Office all the time, it’s a safe space where I feel comfortable with expressing myself.
6. Keep a first aid kit handy
I’m a pretty clumsy person. One time, after one of my morning classes, I dropped my laptop on my big toe and started bleeding pretty bad. Even if you’re not a total klutz, it’s something that can come in clutch from time to time, especially when your school is farther from home.
7. Bring a charger
No one wants their phone dying when they’re going to be on campus for another three hours. My school has charging stations in the library but that may not be the case for everyone. Having your own charger ensures that you’ll be prepared. Also, having a car charger can be super helpful, too.
8. Find a space on campus that you feel comfortable in
As I mentioned before, The Office of First Generation Student Success at FAU has served as a safe space for me. I love going there to hang out and talk to everyone. We even have monthly potlucks.
For you, that might be The Center for Gender and Equity or the library or even your friend’s dorm. It’s pretty common to have huge gaps in schedules and for commuters, going back home between classes usually isn’t an option. Finding somewhere on campus to hang out helps with that.
9. Learn about your school’s resources
My university actual started out as a commuter school and they have various resources for students. We get a discount on train tickets and free bus rides to campus. We also get our first $5 off on three uber rides using a code that student government sends out.
Even if you don’t go to a “commuter school” many universities and colleges offer resources for commuters.