Does your alarm clock in the morning signal the treacherous journey filled with uncertainty, tardiness, and monetary loss that is your commute to school? No worries, you’re not alone. Many college students don’t have the luxury and convenience of living in a dorm or an apartment just a few minutes away from class, and after interviewing and surveying many commuters around the New York City and Long Island area, here are some useful tips for finding an efficient rhythm as a commuter:
1. Plan Your Schedule
Create a schedule that works best for you. Whether it’s scheduling your classes so that you’re traveling less times a week, scheduling your days so you don’t forget to allot time for lunch, or scheduling how much time you’ll take to brush your teeth so that you leave your house on time to catch your train, having a schedule helps you stay organized, and can make for a more effective commuter experience. If you’re not a morning person, plan ahead with your advisor and schedule your classes in the afternoon so your days are more suited to you. If your commute is expensive (shout out to the Long Island Rail Road), create your agenda so that your classes are fewer days per week so you won’t have to travel everyday. If the amount of times I’ve used the word “schedule” in this tip doesn’t emphasize its importance, then I’m not sure what will.
2. Plan Ahead
And by plan ahead, I mean be prepared for anything. Whether that means waking up early to anticipate traffic, keeping a set of spare keys on you in case you lock your keys in your car, or having floss in your purse in case you get the cafeteria’s special stuck in your teeth before a presentation, it’s best to be prepared for anything that commuter life can throw your way. Since you’re journeying to school, you’re probably too far from home to run back in case of emergency, so being ready for whatever curveball that may be pitched is a major key to success (and yes, DJ Khaled would approve of this message).
3. Sleep Earlier
Going to bed earlier will help you feel more energized during your long day of traveling, learning, schoolwork and attempting to have a social life as a commuter. You’ll be able to wake up earlier, FINALLY make it to that 8 AM class (which you’ll never schedule a class that early for again), and your snooze button will thank you. It can only handle so much abuse.
Oh, yeah. You’ll also save money on coffee.
4. Nap During Your Break
If tip number three didn’t work out so well for you and you find yourself having long breaks during your schools days in which you have nothing to do, this one should be more suiting.
Whether it’s in your car, a quiet lounge, or the corner of the library, catching up on sleep during your breaks is a great way to refuel during a long day of education and travel, and after staying up till 3 AM the night before finishing an assignment due today.
5. Bring Something To Keep You Busy
During your commute, during your breaks, or in between classes, you may find yourself with nothing to do. Sometimes, even when you plan your time to the minute, commuter life will pitch a last-minute cancelled class or a delay on the train, leaving you with hollow time. Invest in the extra gigabyte for music, bring a good book, some homework to do, a newspaper to read, or even a coloring book (it’s therapeutic). “Idle hands are the work of the devil,” or at least a really bored college student.
6. Take Advantage of Clubs and Extracurricular Activities
Being a commuter, it may be hard to make a consistent group of friends since you’re usually only on campus when you have class. However, a great way to find consistency and to find friends who have similar interests as you is through joining clubs and organizations at your school. It will help you feel more involved and give you the sense of belonging that is hard to find as a commuter!
With these tips, may your commuter life be filled with timeliness, entertainment, monetary efficiency, and preparedness for the unknown. As Albus Dumbledore has said, ““to the well organized mind, [commuting] is but the next great adventure“…or something like that.