The stereotypical college experience often features a young adult moving into a dorm a few hours away from home. She either loves or hates her roommate and she doesn’t visit home until a mid-semester break. However, for many students, this is not their “college experience.”

For the past three years, I have commuted to school. Currently, I commute to my classes and work at an internship. Thus, as a commuter and college student myself, I have had years of experience with managing my commute schedule with my class, activity, and social schedule. Over the years, I have learned that not living in a dorm does not mean I am losing out on the “college experience.” It simply means that I am having a different experience. So, if you are a student that does not live on campus, here’s a list of ways to embrace your university!

Meet friends who dorm– Knowing people who live on campus can benefit you if you ever need to sleep over. Also, knowing people who live on campus can be helpful if you’re ever looking for somewhere to hang out between classes.

Align commuter schedules– You’re likely not the only commuter at your school. Get to know other commuters and align your commute schedules. Since I take the train, I have made lots of train buddies over the years.

Join clubs and student organizations– Getting involved can help you feel more a part of the campus community because you will be spending more time on campus. My school hosts an involvement fair at the start of every semester to show students all their involvement opportunities.

Attend on-campus events– Whether it’s a fair or petting therapy dogs during exam season, take advantage of your student status by attending on-campus events.

Ask about commuter resources– Since I go to a commuter school, we have a commuter resource center where students can hang out between classes or do homework. Ask your university about any services they may offer.

Being a commuter might get hard at times, especially during the winter! But, after four years, you learn to appreciate how it added to your unique college experience.

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