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5 Tips for Commuter Students

Make your college commute easier by following these helpful tips.

Ashley Paskill

September 08, 2015

5 Tips for Commuter Students
Being a commuter student in college can seem tedious and time-consuming. You have to bring everything you need for the day with you and you do not have the luxury of going back to an apartment or dorm to take a nap. While most teachers understand that commuter students exist within the walls of the school, some teachers can be difficult. It can be tough at times, but there are ways to navigate the commuter life.
1. Communicate with your professors.
Whether you are running late due to traffic, icy conditions, or general public transportation delays, there is a good chance that you may run late from time to time.
Things happen, and most professors have had similar things happen to them, whether you drive or take public transportation. Other students in your class may be experiencing the same problem, so your professor may be more understanding. If you are stuck in traffic or are experiencing delays on public transportation, shoot your professor a quick email to let them know of the situation, letting them know you may be a few minutes late and tell them you are on your way and will be there as soon as possible. Your professor will appreciate the thoughtful heads up, instead of you running into class fifteen minutes late, which may appear careless.
If there is an event that you are required to attend, but you have to work during it, explain that to your professor as well, but make sure you tell them as soon as possible. He/she is likely to be less lenient if you wait until the last minute.
2. Make sure you bring everything you need for the day.
Unlike students who live on or near campus, you do not have the luxury of back to your dorm or apartment to grab something you left at home, especially if you live far away. Have a checklist of things handy to make sure you have whatever supplies you need for each of your classes every day before you leave.
3. Be aware of your surroundings.
This is especially crucial on public transportation. After you have been taking public transportation for a few weeks, you learn what is normal and what seems like odd behavior. Do not be afraid to alert either the conductor or the driver if you notice anything you find suspicious or odd and let them take care of it. Do not try to fix the situation yourself because this may put you in harm’s way. The public transportation employees are trained to deal with various situations.
4. Leave early.
Most of the time, if you live close enough to campus, the weather conditions will be similar to where you live and the campus may closed if the roads are dangerous. Even if the campus does not officially close, teachers who also commute from a long distance may cancel class if he/she does not want to trek out into dangerous conditions and would not want his/her students to do the same. However, this may not always be the case, so leave early to compensate for icy conditions, possible accidents and public transportation delays. For this reason, and for the sake of traffic, accidents (and all other reasons that cause people to run late), it is generally a good idea to leave early. There may be an accident that closes a road and will cause you to go a back way. There may be a situation on public transportation, be it a switch failure, downed wires, or another scenario that causes the public transportation system to be delayed. In either case, it is important to compensate for whatever may happen. You never know what situations may occur and giving yourself some extra time will save you the stress and anxiety of having to rush. It is much better to arrive to campus early as opposed to arriving to class late, which causes you to miss important announcements and lecture material.
5. Bring something to do.
Since you may get to campus way before your class begins, (because you are going to arrive early) it is important to have something to do so that you are not wasting your time. Whether you bring a class assignment or a leisure reading book, having something to do will make your time go by quickly and will be spent productively. Think about packing your textbook to catch up on reading assignments while commuting, if you’re not driving, of course. You have a decent chunk of time to chip away, or even finish, a large reading assignment. It’s also an ideal time to sketch an outline for a paper or to write down whatever ideas may come to mind, so packing a notepad and pen is helpful, too.

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