How To Survive Being A College Commuter Student: 4 Must-See Tips

I can confidently report that being a commuter college student is rough. Instead of hanging out with friends after class, I find myself fast walking, to look as normal as possible, to the train in order to get back to Penn Station. I’m usually the first person in the class because I have nothing to do in between classes, and the first one out the door. I dont spend much time at my college, not because I don’t like it there but because six hours out of my day are already spent traveling to and from school and class. My day starts at 6 am or earlier and ends after midnight when I finally make it home. If you are not a commuter and are thinking about becoming one, do not worry. These long days aren’t the normal schedule for all commuters. The beauty is that you can create the schedule you want. However, as classes start to fill up, you get a job, an internship and your choices become limited then your schedule boils down to some long days. Here are a few tips that will help you get through those four years.

1. Pack electronics fully charged and their chargers.

A phone on a charging cable plugged into the wall.

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Nothing is worse than having something not charged. Whether it’s your computer or your iPad, it can get annoying when you need to use something and it’s not available. I always fully charge my electronics and pack them in bags with their chargers. This way you can use your computer on the train or bus ride there then charge it up once you get to school. Make sure it’s fully charged before you leave, then you can use it on the way home.


2. Pack multiple electronics.

A laptop on a wooden table.

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Don’t just bring your phone, it’s not worth it. Bring your laptop to do work, your phone to listen to music, and if you can bring a tablet to watch a movie or show. I sometimes would get out of class at 9 and be on a very late train. After a long day, the last thing I want to do on my ride home is homework so I would pack my tablet with downloads from Netflix and Hulu. Then I was armed with multiple options for what to watch on my ride home. It gives you a chance to stay sane and catch up on your favorites.


3. Pack Food

A water bottle next to a sandwich, celery and tomatoes in a container with a banana and other fruits surrounding the outside.

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If you chose to commute to save yourself from a big portion of dorming debt then why would you waste all your money on food? It is very easy to fall into the trap of grabbing snacks and meals on the go from various bodegas and restaurants. Save money and be ready for any craving by packing yourself food. If you have an extra pocket in your backpack that isn’t full, I suggest filling it with snacks to help for any time you are hungry. As for meals they are super simple to pack on the go. Smoothies are a great option because they are easy to drink while going from place to place and don’t take up much room. Try purchasing a thermal container that keeps drinks cold and your smoothie will last even longer.


4. Make your schedule.

Someone filling out a calendar with colored pencils and post its.

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This seems like a super simple thing to say but people will make their schedules, having classes all five days of the week. Now take a second to think, do you really wanna pay for transportation all five days? Do you really wanna drive or take the train there and back five days a week when most of your work is going to be outside of class anyway? For me, I handle online classes really well so I pack my schedule with online class. If that’s not your cup of tea then just be mindful, maybe give yourself one or two days to be home to catch up on work or even relax.

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