The life of a college commuter can be a lonely one. It’s easy to feel disconnected from life on campus because of distance, and because at home you are temporarily separated from the activity and community that builds between residents on campus. Sometimes the drives to and from campus, the circle around each parking spot, and the arctic trek to class can be enough to exhaust someone for the rest of the day. Commuting requires a certain type of planning and preparation, and yes, getting up earlier. But there is no reason that commuter students should miss out on important parts of the college experience.
There are small things that can make living off-campus easier, like planning each new semester’s course schedule carefully for example. Large chunks of time between class periods are not usually a great idea. There is also the option to find places on campus to go between classes, whether it’s with a friend in their dorm or a spot in Gallagher to get lunch. Eventually, all commuters develop their own routine and sometimes they can even find good parking spots.
Getting involved can be incredibly useful in assimilating to campus life in general. For commuter students, it requires more effort, but there is no shortage of different ways to do so. NU has over 100 clubs and organizations that apply to nearly every personal or academic interest. Niagara hosts a variety of service clubs that offer opportunities to volunteer, which are great ways to connect; not just with others on campus, but with the larger community.
NU plans new activities on campus throughout each semester. Many commuter students know they exist, but find it hard to keep up with what is currently happening. The best way to stay in touch with events and news is to refer to NU’s website and social media. On Twitter for instance, Campus Activities updates students daily with information on social events and sports games.
Living off-campus, it is easy to forget that the university is not just a site to attend classes, but has a myriad of resources available. Even if you’re not an on-campus student, you can still benefit from the many resources on campus, academic or otherwise. All students regardless of their housing situation can take advantage of NU’s library, Kiernan Center, and counseling and health services. It’s important to remember that if you have a problem or concern, someone somewhere on campus probably has a solution.
One particularly valuable resource is Niagara University’s Commuter Advocacy Board (CAB), a campus organization made up of students who represent the concerns of commuter students. They plan events for students off-campus and work to connect commuters to residents and campus life. For new commuter students, CAB can provide opportunities to meet others throughout the semester and serves as a community to safely voice concerns.
For information and updates on NU CAB, follow them at @NUCommuters on Twitter.