Tips for commuting students

Lianna Norman, Editor in Chief

There are plenty of guides with tips and tricks on how to survive your freshman year in college. However, most of these lists directly apply to students who live on campus during their first year of college rather than commuting students.

Here is what you freshmen don’t know you need: tips and tricks on how to survive your freshman year as a commuter.

One thing I’ve learned about being a commuting student is that the more time I spend physically on campus, the more productive I am in my studies. I used to come to campus for classes and immediately leave, living the rest of my life about 15 minutes away at either my house or my job. I quickly learned that this makes it hard to keep up with grades. Weird, I know; but, when you’re on campus for your study time, it increases the amount of time you’re using resources here like the library, counseling center and tutoring center.

This leads me to how to spend more time on campus and not get home late in the evening (I know most people have a bulk of their classes in the late afternoon, so staying afterward isn’t too appealing to most). If at all possible, schedule your classes between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (yes, like a job) and plan to be here during that time regardless of where your classes fall. Use any time you aren’t in class to study and attend any appointments you wish to make for yourself on campus (tutoring, counseling, career center, etc.). Make your time at home relaxing time, and your time on campus productivity time (as much as you can, anyway).

The one interference with the “9 to 5” plan is any job you may have. I spent the majority of my first two years in college as a barista off-campus, closer to where I live. This hindered me from keeping with the whole “be on campus as much as I can” plan. My remedy for that: get a job on campus.

Jobs on campus are much more flexible with hours. When I took an on-campus job, I started spending more time at UNF and by default, using more of the resources that the university affords to me. I leave my house in the morning, my daily plans all take place in one location (you guessed it, on campus) and then at the end of the day, I go home. I go to my office in the mornings, I usually pack a lunch, and spend any time that I’m not in class between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. studying.

The more time I spent on campus, the better my grades got. The trick to being a commuter is just one trick, really. Spend a reasonable amount of time at the university every day and maximize your resources while you’re there.


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