The 4 Lessons You Learn When You’re A Commuter Student

Whether you commute via car or public transit, you’re out there waking up every morning and making the trek to your university. What once felt like the most frustrating process now isn’t so bad, and if you look at it objectively you’ve probably grown stronger than your fellow classmates that get to roll out of bed fifteen minutes before their class.

There’s something about being removed from campus, of being entirely responsible for your education, which makes you learn a little faster than your residential classmates. You’re more prepared for your future career and you’ve saved a good deal of money that would have been spent on a cramped dorm room and a questionable meal plan.

Here are the things you learn as a commuter:

1. Patience

Whether it’s a long commute or just one that manages to involve every traffic-filled area in your city, you’ve learned patience behind the wheel of your car (or from the seat of your train). What drove you crazy in the beginning now is just another part of the day. Are you jealous of the resident students who get to just roll out of bed and run to their class in 15 minutes? Yes, incredibly so. But at least you’ve learned a valuable lesson in patience that they won’t learn until they’re commuting to their first office job–sleepy-eyed and munching on a granola bar.

2. Independence

They didn’t lie to you when they said it’s hard to make friends as a commuter. You don’t have the immediate tie of living in student housing with a hundred other students. You don’t have the ease of being available for 1 am McDonalds runs during study sessions. You live a good distance off campus but it feels like an even bigger distance between you and your classmates.

But from this newfound alone time on campus, you’ve learned how to be a more independent worker. You set your own schedule: when you’re going to come into campus, when and where you’re going to study, and you can decide it all without a thousand texts to your roommate and study buddies.

3. Planning

Nothing makes you better at planning ahead than not having all of your things a quick 5-minute walk from campus. Not having your math textbook isn’t a quick sprint back to your room, it’s a long trek all the way back to your house. You walk onto campus every morning knowing the weather for the day, knowing if the big baseball game is in town today, and knowing the traffic flows for the day. No one is ever going to catch you without an umbrella trudging from class to class only to arrive without your calculus homework. 

4. Organization

On the same train of thought, you’ve learned to be much more organized. Whether this is somehow making all your classes on the same days of the week so you don’t have to commute five days a week, or checking your bag before you head to campus to make sure you didn’t forget the notes for your anatomy class, you’ve got this organization thing down. You’ve probably even gotten a planner. And you actually write in it. TC mark

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