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Before starting my first semester at Loyola, I was binge-watching commuter student videos on YouTube. I had no clue how I would be able to make friends, manage driving 52 miles every day, how I could be involved in clubs, etc. I wish I had someone from Loyola to talk to about their tips for commuting before starting school. I’ve now been in school for 43 days and I’ve learned a thing or two that has helped me survive my commuter life. I hope these 5 tips help you!  

1. Use a time-blocking system  

I love using Google Calendar to visually see when I have class and meetings. This way, I’m able to designate certain times for studying and eating. It keeps me accountable for how I’m using my time (helps with procrastination). If you’re a paper planner you can make a weekly page with your classes laid out. 

2. Make sure you are eating and sleeping 

It’s so easy to forget to eat when everything is going by so fast. But please, make sure you’re eating your 3 meals a day. Commuters aren’t required to have meal plans but I recommend adding one. I personally have the senior 800 meal points this semester and it’s helped me out when I don’t feel like buying food with my debit card.  

Packing snacks is essential! I found myself at Starbucks buying pastries just because I wanted a snack… and that adds up! I now buy granola bars from Sam’s Club and pack 2 every day.  

Now let’s address sleep… It’s so common to hear that the “college experience” involves all-nighters. It can be tempting, especially when you have so many assignments due the next day, but please don’t. As a driver, you are putting your life and others’ lives at risk when you are low on sleep. Sleep is essential, for all college students but especially for commuters! Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep in every night. It will better your performance in your classes and keep others on the road safe.  

3. Befriend people in your classes 

Sometimes you find yourself confused or need clarification on an assignment or topic from class, and that’s where classmates can help! It’s easier said than done but try to talk to people in your class, exchange social media or numbers, and you can even ask to study with them. I found this being very helpful in my Philosophy class when I was confused about what the readings were for the next class.  

4. Plan a time to socialize  

I like to plan to meet up with a friend at least once a week. It’s important to stay in touch with friends especially since you can’t stay so late on campus every day (it gets exhausting). I’d recommend keeping it to once a week unless it’s for studying. I like going to get sushi, getting McDonald’s, shopping at Target, and getting acai bowls as fun outings with my friends. 

5. Be involved, wisely  

I say wisely because you do not want to overwhelm yourself with responsibilities. Choose 1-2 clubs to join and make sure their meeting times agree with your availability. Clubs are a great way to make friends and give you a break from academics.  

Remember that you can do whatever you set your mind on, your commuter status can’t limit your success. You got this!   

Jasmine Diaz-Martinez is a freshmen at Loyola University Maryland pursuing a double major in International Business and Spanish.
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