Commuters sometimes struggle with their sense of belonging to a university community, because they don’t live on campus. They feel out of touch with student life because they drive to campus or take public transportation, go to class, and head straight home afterward. This can create a lonely college experience for these students. Here are some tips on how to fight those commuter issues!
Find a Place on Campus to Call Home
Gas prices are rising and commuting back and forth to campus is not very affordable anymore. If you want to attend a nighttime activity, lecture, or social event, you may struggle with what to do in between when classes end and your even begins. The best thing you can do for yourself is to find a home base to go to while you wait. Whether it’s getting work done at the library, working out at the gym, meeting up with friends who live on campus, lounging in Bartels, or finding an open table at the First-Year Success Center, having a home away from home will help keep you connected on campus.
Making connections is a challenge for commuters. It takes longer to see the same faces. Get involved! The more you get involved, the greater the chance you have to interact with other students. Attend activities and join clubs and organizations. The more time you spend on campus participating in events and activities, the more likely you are to make some friends along the way.
Every Tuesday, the FYSC hosts a "Commuter Connections" hour. Stop by Maxcy Hall 309 from 1:40-2:40 PM to meet other commuters on campus, relax and chat, while getting to know other students and professionals on campus. Commuter Connections is a great way to make friends and find a home on campus!
Many commuters have a part-time job off campus that is taking up too much of their time. While financial need may keep you from eliminating your job, cut down on the hours before it affects your GPA and your college life experience. As a full-time student, you should work 20 hours or less a week!
Parking is one of the greatest challenges commuters face. There are never enough spots. Eliminate the stress of being late for class by setting up a plan. Know how long your commute is and when and where the realistic parking spot is for you at each time of the day in order for you to get to class on time. Have a backup plan in case your lot is full or reserved for the day. If you can, get to campus early in the day when more spots are available. You may also want to consider dining on campus or packing a lunch so that you won’t have to move your car during peak campus parking hours.
Find someone in each of your classes who can share information with. After class exchange email addresses or cell phone numbers. This way you have a contact in case you miss a class and need to gather information or missed notes. Who knows, this person may turn out to be a great friend or study partner.
Many times students in specific majors or classes will form a study group. This is a great way to connect with your peers as well as to stay on top of you academics. Start a study group yourself. UNH has workshops to show you how to do this.
Sign up for intramurals, theater, band, student government, or any activity that puts you on a team or in a group situation. It is a great way to meet groups of students who share the same interest.
Join the Commuter Club
The Commuter Club at UNH is committed to serving as a voice for commuter students on campus. They plan commuter programming and start initiatives to make the campus more commuter-friendly. To join the Commuter Club, find them on Charger Connection in the Student Activities tab of the insideUNH portal.
You must go out and take advantage of all the opportunities that are offered to you at UNH. If you make the extra effort to get involved, you will be rewarded in many ways and will get the most out of your college experience!