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Ohio University Sunset Wray House Back South
Hannah Moskowitz
Life > Academics

Parking Panic: Tips For OU Students Commuting to Campus

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ohio U chapter.

The Bobcats are well into the fall semester, but as students transfer in and out, it seems essential to let the commuters in on a few of the tips I’ve learned as a commuter. With the arrival of OU’s largest first-year class, finding a parking spot on campus is bound to be trouble. Here are a few things I’ve learned about managing life as a commuter student:

bring multiple snacks

Planning time to eat is just as important as planning your class schedule. Being hungry during class is not fun, especially for commuter students who opted out of a meal plan. When I know I’m going to be on campus for hours, I make sure to bring a variety of snacks with me. I recommend bringing portable and filling snacks like berries, a Belvita biscuit, chips or crackers, trail mix, etc. These snacks should be light in your backpack and keep your energy up (mentally and physically).

Also, consider where you will be during the day. If you’re hitting the books in Alden, I wouldn’t suggest something loud and crunchy. A variety of snacks will give you options based on where you are on campus.

Finally, if you forget a snack (which I have done), there are so many local cafes and shops on Court Street, right off College Green! Consider grabbing a bite to eat between classes from these amazing local restaurants and cafes!

10 extra minutes will make a difference

This tip is mainly for the beginning of each semester until you notice when the lots are busiest. I strongly recommend giving yourself an extra 10 minutes —on top of the walking distance— to get to class. You never know when the parking lot will be completely full, and it changes from year to year. For example, I was almost late on the first day of class because I tried to park by Washington Hall. During the previous semester, there was always a spot to park in that lot. To my horror and surprise, there were no spots this semester.

Don’t be like me, give yourself that extra 10 minutes to find a different lot and walk. It will save you a lot of stress!

expect the worst, hope for the best

Things to bring to campus:

  • the half-broken umbrella
  • a rain jacket
  • those miscellaneous unicorn bandaids from 2017 you found in the medicine cabinet
  • comfortable walking shoes
  • a few deep, calming breaths

Even if you feel like these items will be useless, there are going to be days when you have to park 15 minutes away from class. It will probably be raining or snowing that day, you might have a blister on the back of your heel, and everything will feel like it’s going wrong. If you’re prepared for the worst, these emergencies won’t seem as catastrophic!

Reserve study rooms in Alden Library

This is probably a tip you’re not expecting, but it’s definitely important: Reserve study rooms in Alden Library! You have a built-in space to study, do quizzes or exams, write papers, sit and eat, work with peers, or watch videos or movies. I schedule them depending on my academic needs (more deadlines equal more reservations). You can pick your room and the times you want as long as —I cannot stress this enough— you schedule them in advance. If you don’t, you’ll probably get stuck on the 1st Floor with no cell service (another personal experience of mine). Knowing you have a place to go during the day is reassuring, especially as a commuter!

You can reserve a study room at Alden Library here!

Get Involved

Most OU students have heard this from BSO or parents, and they are usually right, but I want to add my experience to the table. Personally, there have been times when I wished I was living in the dorms because I felt disconnected from my peers. Getting involved in student organizations helps, but don’t try to do everything.

The best approach I’ve found to juggling organizations is to join clubs with sister organizations (related or supplementary clubs). For example, I joined the Scripps Public Relations Student Society of America, and I joined their sister organization, 1804 Communication. The meetings are held at different times, and what I learn in each will help develop and expand my skills!

“Fun” or “hobby” clubs are just as important as professional organizations, but I recommend considering why you want to join a club. Personally, I joined Her Campus Ohio University because it’s so much fun, I have a long-term interest in writing, and it will help me develop a new style of writing I’ve never tried. Having reasons to join a non-professional organization will help you get more out of the experience!

stay on campus as long as possible

This final tip is possibly the most important out of this entire list: stay on campus as long as possible. When I stay on campus, I am more productive and focused than I would be at my bedroom desk. Find a quiet spot in Alden, a nook in Baker, or a table in Gover, and grind out that homework. I also recommend working outside (as long as the weather permits). When I go home to do classwork, my productivity plummets as soon as I step into my bedroom, and I end up mindlessly scrolling on my phone. Then, I’m left with even more work the next day. Please, learn from my mistake! Keep your workspaces and rest spaces as separate as possible. Do as much work as you can on campus, then take your well deserved rest time at home!

Hi! I'm a second-year Honors Tutorial College journalism student and writer at Ohio University! I enjoy exercising, studying, local coffee, and collecting stickers from local businesses! I can't wait to take you on my college journey!