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10 Things Every Commuter Should Always Have in Their Car

If you’re a commuter like me, you’ve learned a couple of things about commuting that you probably didn’t want to, such as how horrible the parking lot deal is and how the struggle is real when you’re trying to park behind Foy Hall between the hours of 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. You’ve learned to say, “Screw it, I’m going to check anyways!” because the walk from Roger Bacon to, well, anywhere BUT Roger Bacon is a long walk. And you know that worst walk of the whole school day is the walk to or from your car from your first or last class because when it’s snowy, windy, or anything not sunny it’s a trek that feels like a mile long, especially if you’re parked behind RB. And yeah, there are some days you’re like damn, I really wish I lived here so I didn’t have to deal with this, but then you remember you’re saving $15,000 a year and you can come and go as you please without having to deal with public transportation or waiting for your mom to come pick you up.

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But no one ever gives you a list of what to bring with you to college on the daily, so you’re kind of just left to figure it out on your own because you don’t have a roommate to collaborate with.

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So here a short list of the essential to make your life easier:

1. Phone Chargers

Don’t try to kid yourself, your phone is going to die and you know it. And guess what, you don’t have a dorm to go to plug it in for a 20-minute power charge. And nothing’s worse than having to ask around for a charger or just let it die and hope that you don’t need it for whatever reason that’s bound to come.

And you don’t have to keep this one in your car. You can keep all the cords nice and neat in your backpack so it’s easily accessable all day. Just make sure you have the portable car charger thing so you can breathe a little easier when there’s an accident on Route 9 or the Northway and you’re left trying to get home a different way. Just pop that in and plug your phone in and let Maps take care of you while you’re too busy moaning and groaning about the extra commute and gas that the accident ahead of you has caused.

2. Bedding

By bedding, I mean a pillow and blanket, maybe even a sleeping bag if you have one. You never know when you’re going to be pulling a long night on campus, whether it’s due to weather conditions (snow, go away!), or you’re just too tired to drive back home. Most of us commuters have a resident friend or two who can hook you up with a nice (pretend it’s not hard) floor for you to crash on. Plus, that blanket doubles as an extra jacket when it’s freezing outside and the heater isn’t ready to use yet.

The best type of blanket to store in your car is a wool one, as it repels waters and keeps you warm. And throw in whatever pillow you hate the most and won’t miss every night and you’ll be golden!

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3. Winter Coat

If you have an unreliable car like me, you never know when that thing is going to break down on you. If you hate winter coats like me, just store your winter coat in your car when you’re not wearing it so if anything happens on your commute, you have something warm to put on. And even in the summer months, just keep it in the truck or the backseat and you won’t have to remember to put it back in your car during winter.

4. Kitty Litter

Your parents have probably told you a thousand times to put cat litter in your truck during the winter to weigh down your car. Not only does it make nasty, bad roads a little, tiny bit better, but it also helps you out if you’re on campus all day and drifts start piling up in front of your car.

Bonus Tip: Keep a small shovel in your trunk so you can shove away snow if it’s too high before you put kitty litter down to give traction to your tires!

5. An Overnight Bag

Not only are you going to want a pillow and blanket to sleep with if you end up staying overnight, but you’re going to want a few other things too. Such as: toothpaste and a toothbrush, some deodorant, perfume, feminine products (although you probably already have those stored in every nook and cranny you can find), extra hair ties, Chapstick and a change of clothes. And remember, it never hurts to be over-prepared for any unexpected emergency.

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6. $40-$60-ish

“Why?” you may ask. I already have my debit/credit card on me! Well, let me you tell you, you will forget it one day and realize too late you forgot your wallet or whatever you put it in and it’s too late to turn around. And it never hurts to keep extra money in your glove box just in case you run out of money and need emergency gas. It’s better safe than sorry! And it will leave you with a little peace of mind that you have enough to cover gas and maybe a little extra for whatever you’re in dire need of.

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7. Map

I admit, I didn’t have one in my car until my grandmother insisted that I did and didn’t let me leave without one. However, it’s always good to keep an extra one with you just in case your phone dies, but if you took advice #1, this shouldn’t happen (wink, wink), but keep one just in case.

8. Flashlight

This seems self-explanatory since we all have one on our phones, but again, better safe than sorry. Keep the phone battery up and use your handy dandy flashlight instead.

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9. A Pair of Socks and Extra Pair of Shoes

Do you know how many times I’ve gone to the gym after class only to curse myself out because I wore shoes that didn’t require socks and now I don’t have a pair to wear with my Nikes? A. LOT. Don’t be me, be smarter than me. Keep an extra pair in your gym bag or your glove compartment just in case.

As for shoes, you know that cute new pair of shoes you just bought and want to show off? If you’re like me, the Band-Aid Queen, you’ll probably end up with a bunch of blisters. So, throw an old pair of shoes in your car so you ditch the cute ones for a good pair of comfy ones.

Bonus Tip: the Band-Aid Queen can’t leave here without saying to keep a box of Band-Aids in your car. They’re great to have not only for your sore feet, but just in case the need arises.

10. Coupons

You’re probably thinking, “What is she talking about?” Well, I’m going to tell you. Coupons are great to keep in your car because well a) you have car, b) sometimes you don’t want to go home and cook (especially if you have a night class), c) everything tastes better when you have a discount where you and your friends want to grab a bite to eat.

The Struggle is Real, y’all. We all know it, we all survive it. Resident students might not always understand us and our struggles, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have any. And to all the commuters who have to take public transportation to get to school, my heart goes out to you. I know that trip can be mighty long. 

P.S. Siena commuter students, CSA holds free lunches, let me repeat that, FREE LUNCHES, once a month on Wednesday during free period! Keep a look out in your email for it! 

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Alyssa Guzman is a Senior at Siena College, and is the Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus Siena. She is currently Double Majoring in English and Communications Journalism with a minor in Writing and Communications. She hopes to one day be a New York Times Bestselling Author in Fiction, but plans on starting in the journalism world with dreams of writing for Cosmopolitan or the New York Times. In her free time, she enjoys fashion, writing, and listening to the newest Taylor Swift release. 
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