Believe it or not, commuters can still experience the “college life." There is a huge misconception that certain students do not get to experience the full “college life" because they commute. However, I disagree. There are so many ways for you to get the most of commuting.
After I graduated from a community college, I transferred to one of the nearby schools. They offered dorming, but since I lived 15 minutes away, I thought it was pointless. This school had a “commuter life center" where commuters could meet other commuters and get advice on how to get the most out of college. If there is a commuter life center at your school, you should go there frequently. You never know who you’ll meet and what you’ll learn about your school.
The most important way that commuters can get the most out of college is by getting involved. Most clubs and organizations plan (or try to plan) meetings in the afternoon because they know students have classes. At the beginning of each semester, there should be a fair that lets you know which organizations and clubs there are. Hopefully it’s the same at your school, but the community college I work for, as well as the previous university that I attended, offered an activities fair every semester. You should attend this event. If you can only go in between classes for 15 minutes, that’s fine! Whether you are with a friend or by yourself, walk around to see what opportunities there are. Joining a club or organization is a great way to get involved, meet new friends, and utilize your skills.
Another way that you can get the most out of commuting is by getting a job on campus, or at least around the area. This will help you to get to know your campus and meet new people at the same time. When you get a job on campus or around the area, you are forced you to stay on campus, giving you the opportunity to get to know the place, get involved, and meet new people. This also ensures that you’re spending less time on the road. Commuting can get very tiring, so the less you have to do it, the better. Having a job on campus means that you can go to class and then work right after without having to drive too far because everything will all be in the same place!
I like creating a schedule that has small gaps in between classes. For example, I’ll have an 8am class in the morning, and then my next class won’t be until 11am. This ensures that I will be on campus to do homework or hang out with friends, so I won’t just be there for class. Give yourself gaps in between classes so that you can have a break, meet up with friends, or do homework. Also, try to not schedule one class a day. Typically, when I would only have one class scheduled for the day, I’d skip it. Having back to back classes or a gap in between classes ensured that I would go to class and remain on campus all day. Get the most out of college by forcing yourself to stay on campus with a packed schedule. You won’t experience the “college life" by showing up to class and leaving right after.
The final piece of advice that I can give you guys would be to have a mentor. This can be one of your tutors in the tutoring center. Having a mentor will help you get used to school. You’ll also have a friend there to guide you and help you with whatever you need. Attend tutoring sessions or request to have a mentor because you never know… this mentor might end up being a lifelong friend aftercollege. One of my friends requested a mentor during his first year of college, and by the end of the year, they still kept in touch and remained close. This obviously won’t be the same for everyone, but having a mentor can really help you transition into college.
These are some of the tips I was given when I commuted to community college and then a university right after. Hopefully these tips will help you. What other tips can you guys offer to commuter students?