Being Involved as a Commuter

Commuters are the unsung heroes of college. They have to wake up every morning, battle rush-hour traffic, and make the same drive home regardless of the weather or hour. They are accountable to the campus rules, but they also have to follow them while living at home. They have better time management skills than most college students to factor in drive times, homework, class schedules, and extracurriculars.

By Jessica Dickenson — October 3, 2022


Being Involved as a Commuter

Commuters are the unsung heroes of college. They have to wake up every morning, battle rush-hour traffic, and make the same drive home regardless of the weather or hour. They are accountable to the campus rules, but they also have to follow them while living at home. They have better time management skills than most college students to factor in drive times, homework, class schedules, and extracurriculars.

While this may seem like a lot of work, being a commuter has benefits. As a commuter student, you have more freedom than the average student and more opportunities to be involved in your vibrant campus life on and off campus. While you may be aware of the off-campus advantages, here are some ways you can be involved on-campus as a commuter:

1. Join a Club on Campus

Campus organizations are great outlets for you to meet and network with other students. Even though it may seem intimidating initially, make an effort to be involved in at least two to four organizations on campus that you are passionate about. Try to attend club meetings and special organization events regularly. The point of these meetings (for both commuters and residence students) is to help you find your place in college and connect you with others with similar interests. You will be surprised how quickly you will find other like-minded individuals on campus!

2. Attend Campus Events

You don't have to feel pigeonholed in a specific club or group. Many campuses offer campus-wide activities, especially on the weekends. You should try to attend a sports-related event, a theater production, or a special topics course when the school offers it. Not only will it enable you to spend time with other students, but you will also get to engage with another side of your campus community. Plus, some colleges offer free food for campus events which is always a plus.

3. Pack a Meal and Eat in the Cafeteria

Time is a precious commodity in college, but mealtimes are equally important. While you may be tempted to squirrel yourself away in a quiet area to chow down on lunch, try to eat with people in the cafeteria. Lunch or dinner is a great time to spend quality time with your peers between classes. You may catch up on the latest news or campus gossip by enjoying your meal! Although you may feel too old to swap lunches, sharing home-cooked/baked food is an excellent way to meet new people.

4. Form a Study Group

Let's face it, we all have subjects that we struggle with; college is no exception. If you find yourself asking questions about a specific topic or class, other people ask the same questions. You can reach out to your peers to see if there are people who would like to study together. You can make a plan to study frequently or just before important exams-the exact schedule of when you meet is up to you.

Another option is to form a peer review group. You can meet with a group of individuals who will regularly correct and edit your paper throughout the writing process. It is an excellent way to get feedback on papers before submitting them for final grading.

5. With a Car Comes Great Responsibility

You have heard of designated drivers when it comes to nights out, but college campuses also have their own unofficial designated drivers. Campuses have a lot to offer, but sometimes it is nice to get out. That is where commuters come in! Off-campus concerts, work, shopping, a day out, parties, you name it, you can be there. Being a student with a car is a huge asset, not only to you but to your friends as well.

A word of caution is warranted. Just because you CAN drive people around doesn't mean you are a campus chauffeur. Make boundaries, stick to them, and don't feel pressured to drive someone just because they asked you to. Having a vehicle is an asset and a responsibility, neither of which you should take lightly.

6. Form a Commuter Organization

Though commuters may not make the largest portion of the student demographic, there are other commuters on campus. If you are looking to connect with other people who drive in every day like you, you can form your commuter organization. Schools usually have a budget for student-run organizations, so contact them to see if there is an interest or already a group at your institution.

Some fun things could include a commuter breakfast, meetings near campus, asking for discounts for a dining facility on or off campus, picnics, Halloween trunk-or-treat, and much more!

7. Stay on Campus

We get it. You just want to check out and head home when your classes are done. However, if you want to be involved, you must stay on campus. We understand that you have other obligations outside of school, but you could try combining your school obligations with the campus. For example, you could study in the library instead of studying at home. You may have an off-campus job, but you might consider working on campus.

Jessica Dickenson

Jessica Dickenson

Jessica Dickenson graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College with degrees in English and communication. She has applied her abilities working as a young marketing professional for a local university but works as a freelance writer and photographer in her spare time. She currently resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband.
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