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Commuters: Unpacked


Starting college is a period of adjustment for everyone. But for students not living on campus, it can be complicated as most of the advice given in college guides is typically limited to a residential living experience. Having the college experience isn’t dependent on where you live, but on how you choose to engage with what is on campus. Still, commuters have to adapt to school differently than residential students, so here are some quick tips.


 Survival Essentials


  • Breakfast

Spending the day on campus can be draining. Make sure to eat breakfast at home or stop by the coffee shop if you’re in a time crunch. Also, bring a refillable water bottle and maybe some Advil–or any other medications you would need in an emergency. 

  • Chargers

Always bring your phone charger. If you have a laptop, then definitely bring that charger too. Trust me, you don’t want to run out of battery during a late study session in the library.

  • Parking

Make sure you have the Commuter sticker on whichever vehicle you have registered with the school, and. . . just park in the correct lots. Trust me, it’s tempting to park in the closest lot to your class, but you can never know when Public Safety will hand out tickets. 


Camping Out


Staying on campus during the day without a dorm to relax in can be tricky. Luckily, the campus has plenty of spots to study, socialize and recharge!


  • The Library basement

While the Dupont-Ball Library has it all–computers, charging stations, vending machines and comfy chairs- it is the basement that is a student favorite for a quiet place to relax. Take a minute to hop on one of the beanbags and enjoy the quiet zone!


  • IT Lab

No laptop? No problem. Check out the campus IT Lab for a nice place to type and print that last minute paper. The IT Lab located under the library is also open 24/7, accessible with a student ID. 


  • The CUB (Carlton Union Building)

Explore the CUB! Visit the Coffee Shop or Lynn Dining Commons on the first floor, and then make your way up to the second floor for some quality time in the Student Lounge and Lee’s Garage. 


  • Bunker Down in a Classroom

Have that one classroom that keeps you focused? Visit it outside class hours, and you may find your favorite study place. When you’re done with the place, make sure to clean up after yourself.  Erase the whiteboards, put the desks back, and leave your campsite better than you found it!


Meeting Fellow Campers


Commuters usually receive the same advice for making friends on campus. While joining Greek Life and organizations works for most students, other commuters have tight schedules outside of school and can’t manage to be on campus for these specific time commitments. Here are some other ways to get your foot in the tent: 


  • Keep a calendar of events happening on campus. Doing this allows you to find out what does and doesn’t fit your schedule in advance. Knowing this will help you attend more events with more ease. Stetson’s Engage app and website are a great way to keep up to date with on-campus events. Make sure to follow official school accounts and other Stetson-affiliated organizations on social media; most organizations use their social media pages to promote  upcoming meetings and events. 
  • Join at least one organization that you can stick with. It doesn’t have to be serious; try out a new hobby with the Baking Club, Club Running, or even start your own! Make sure you visit Club Rush and learn all that Stetson has to offer. 
  • Get involved in your major’s department. Many departments will host a Fall mixer; find out when yours is and take the chance to get to know your future professors and classmates. Being an active member of your department not only provides a supportive social environment, but it will expose you to more academic opportunities as well.
  • Last but not least, say yes! Each commuter has a unique school/home balance, and sometimes we just don’t have enough time to stay on campus. But saying yes to invitations is the only way to get yourself out there. Work with your commuting schedule and be transparent with your friends about when you can and cannot be on campus. 


It’s a myth that commuters can’t have the college experience without living on campus. You can still get involved, form lasting friendships and make a difference. In my experience as a commuter, the first year was a learning curve. Getting over the feeling of being an outsider was difficult, but it was eventually achieved through trial and error. It will take time to become familiar with this new balance- but in the end, it can be just as fulfilling as living on campus!

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Reagan Shivers
Reagan Shivers, News Editor

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