10 Essentials You'll Need If You Commute

Whether you’ve been commuting since that very first day of school or only just started struggling to find parking in order to save money, it can be hard to figure out what to pack for a day on campus. As someone who lived on campus for my first two years before commuting, I was dreading having to pack what to bring with me to campus. What if I wanted to go to the gym? What if it started to rain? What if I had a last-minute interview? None of these things I worried about while living on campus because I could always rush back to my dorm. Once I started commuting, I learned I needed to be prepared for anything. Here are some items to pack if you are commuting this semester. 

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1. Workout Clothes

Just because you aren’t living on campus anymore doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the facilities. There are plenty of classes available to help you find a fun way to let off some steam. So make sure you are prepared for a quick workout by keeping your workout essentials at hand. A pair of sneakers, some leggings, a sports bra, and a t-shirt are a must-have to make sure when the time comes to sweat, and you’re ready to go. 

2. Professional Wear

With interviews, internships, or career fairs, students must be prepared to make a good impression on potential employers. Any student could be asked to give their elevator pitch at a moment's notice, and when that time comes, it’s essential to make sure you have everything you need. Whether that’s a pair of plain flats and a button-down, or a full suit and heels, every student should have what they need to help boost their resume.  

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3. Something Comfy

After a long day of classes, finding time to veg out with friends is much needed. Keep something comfy close at hand like a pair of leggings, a t-shirt, and some fluffy socks. As the weather starts to get cold, pack a sweater or hoodie so you can snuggle up with friends in comfort. 

4. Rainy Day Essentials

Let’s face it, Maryland weather is notorious for its unpredictability. One day you are lying out on Mckeldin lawn enjoying some rays, and the next, you’re cooped inside, trying to keep warm. In times of uncertainty, it’s best to make sure you have your rainy day essentials at hand. You should try to keep a pair of rain boots, a cute umbrella, and maybe even a fun rain jacket just in case you find yourself caught in a downpour. 

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5. Snacks

Sometimes packing a full day’s worth of food can be stressful. Maybe in your haste to get out the door and avoid traffic, you forgot to bring something to munch on in between classes. Paying for food at Stamp can get boring, and frankly expensive after awhile. But spending time in the stir fry line can take time out of your already busy schedule. In times like this, make sure you have snacks at hand. Whether it’s a box of granola bars or maybe something a little sweeter like your choice of candy, make sure you have your favorite snack. 

6. Some Cash

This should be something you have on you at all times. Whether it’s for some gas, paying for a quick meal, or splurging on a hastily planned night out with friends, make sure you are never short on funds. Keep a few extra dollars in your bag in case of emergencies or those times you want to treat yourself. 

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7. Makeup

Keep a small bag with your basic makeup essentials ready. Whether it’s for a quick touch up of mascara or eyeliner, or if you need a full face for an upcoming interview or night out, it’s best to make sure you aren’t stranded without your go-to gloss. Don’t forget your makeup remover, in case a fresh face is exactly what you are looking for. 

8. Overnight Bag

Sometimes the fun times really don’t stop, and you may find yourself in need of a friend’s couch to crash on. In cases like this, don’t be left stranded without a comfy pair of pajamas and your toothbrush. An overnight bag is something that I’ve found myself utilizing almost every weekend since I started commuting. I make sure to keep the basic toiletries like a toothbrush and toothpaste and maybe even some deodorant for after a night out. 

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9. Extra Charger

Days on campus can belong, and after checking the time, replying to texts from friends, and maybe updating your social media, you may notice that little battery at the top of your screen begins to drain. In times like this, don’t be left without a means to recharge your phone. And if you’re like me, constantly pulling out your laptop, maybe an extra laptop charger isn’t a bad idea. 

10. Going Out Clothes

Whether you are simply going out to catch a movie with some friends or planning a trip to a bar on route 1, you want to make sure you are dressed to impress. When preparing for your commute, maybe throw in a fun top and a pair of jeans for those times when the night takes you by surprise.