Being a commuter in college can be a challenge, particularly when you live far away from your campus. Students who commute must carry everything they need with them each day and don’t have the convenience of heading back to a dorm or nearby apartment between classes for a power nap. Though it can be a challenge, there are numerous ways to maneuver commuter life successfully. Make your experience as a commuting college student easier with these tips.

1. Leave Early

Leaving early is the optimal means of ensuring you can make it to class on time in the event of traffic jams, accidents, weather conditions, and public transportation setbacks. Giving yourself additional time will help you avoid the stress of having to rush out the door or missing the beginning of your first class. Treat the extra time on campus as a kind of enforced study hall.

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2. Be Prepared

As a commuter, you won’t have the ability to head back to your apartment or dorm room to retrieve forgotten supplies. Make a list of everything you need the day before your classes to ensure you are ready to go. Invest in an ergonomic bag or backpack to make sure you can carry all your gear with comfort.

3. Speak With Your Professors

Even if you leave early every day, there may be a time when you run into unforeseen circumstances that cause you to be late. Delays happen, and, thankfully, many instructors will understand your situation.

If you find yourself stuck in a traffic jam or caught in the middle of a public transportation lag, email your professor to detail the circumstances and say you’re on your way. Your instructors are more likely to be understanding when you reach out as soon as possible.

4. Check Your Email Before Class

Since professors will often send emails if they need to cancel classes, make a point to check your school email before classes to avoid commuting to campus only to find out your professor canceled class.

5. Talk to People

Students living on campus or in nearby apartments are always near each other, which gives them more opportunities to interact and build relationships. As a commuter, this disconnection can be isolating. Don’t hesitate to talk to people in your classes. Even a simple question about an assignment or directions can mark the beginning of a new friendship.

6. Check Out Posting Boards

If you are looking for other ways to commute or would like more company, check out the posts on billboards across campus. You could find better options for transportation or someone who can study during unusual hours.

7. Wear and Prepare Comfortable Attire

Wearing comfortable clothes and shoes as a commuter is important because you will likely be walking more than most individuals who live on campus or nearby. When you don’t have the convenience of popping into a dorm room or apartment to change clothes, it is vital to be prepared. Bring along an additional set of clothes and store them in your car or commuter locker in case of an emergency.

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