PA Talk: Tips for Commuters

10 Pro Tips for Commuters at Cumberland University

By: Raven Smith

Since starting at Cumberland University in 2017, I have always been a commuter. Now that our student body as grown exponentially, especially in the category of commuters, I have a few pro-tips to share with my fellow commuters. 

  1. First things first: BE FIRST. The best way to ensure you get to class on time is to leave your house or apartment early. The term ‘early bird gets the worm’ will now be called ‘early student gets a parking spot’. Not only does getting to school early secure a decent spot, but it also gives you extra time to hang out on campus; which leads to my next point. 
  2. Make friends that live on campus. Even if you’re an introvert or extrovert, it is so good to build connections with people on campus for multiple reasons. You get to meet new people is a big one, but you also find study partners, people who invite you to other events on campus, someone to bum a meal off of from the Cafe or Bistro, an extra room to nap in after a test during Finals Week; the possibilities are endless. Make friends and it will make opportunities. 
  3. Take advantage of your breaks! I cannot stress this enough! STAY ON CAMPUS IN BETWEEN CLASSES. This is how you meet people. You can study on campus, eat on campus, play spike ball or any other pick up game on the quad. Take advantage of your free time and meet people. This can also be a good time to utilize any resource on campus, as well as meeting with a professor or your advisor. 
  4. Join a club or organization! I know everyone always says this, but it will help you feel like a part of the community at Cumberland. During my first semester, I didn’t talk to anyone and felt like school was just a job I had to go to. Then, FINALLY, one day I started to talk to people and make friends and now I am a part of two clubs on campus, one of which I helped kick-start last semester. 
  5. Use campus resources! The resources are endless on campus. In the Learning and Career Center (LCC), there is tutoring, the writing center, and career services which helps you compose resumes and send them out, plan for a job, or prepare for internship interviews; right down to what you should wear! Then, we have the counseling and disability services in Labry Hall that are there for all of our students, all of the time. There is also residents life, greek organization, and student life. As I stated above, I helped kick-start a club on campus last semester, the English Club. If there is something that is not on campus that you want to start or be a part of, you can go to the student life office and start it up, just by utilizing what the university provides. 
  6. Being a commuter is also super awesome because you have time on your drive to be what I call ‘brain-productive’. Now, some of you might think this is not super “cool” or as fun as blasting your speakers with some of your favorite music, but this time is a perfect time to listen to a podcast, a ‘Ted-Talk’, a motivational speech, a sermon, or a meditation. This is your time with no one around you. So take advantage of this; take a ‘time-out’ during your commute.
  7. Keep extra supplies in your car! Keep a blanket, water, change of clothes, shoes, and rainy-day supplies in your car. Trust me, there will come a day where your car needs to be jumped or someone else’s does. Put those cables in your trunk! I’ve had to provide the tools for a friend to change their tire before. It’s going to rain; keep rain boots and an umbrella in your car. Just come prepared! You have an oversized bag on four wheels. Keep things in it that you might need and won’t have time to go back home for. 
  8. Invest in a slow-cooker. This tip is more for my commuters out there who don’t still live with mom and dad. This will save you time after school and work, and you don’t have to stop at McDonald’s on the way home or worry about having to cook! Just go home and dinner will be waiting for you. 
  9. KNOW YOUR REPRESENTATIVE! Commuters have their very own representative in the student body government! Get to know them! If you ever have anything you need or want that is specific towards the needs of a commuter, then go to them. They can help bring those wants and needs forward to a solution. 
  10. Last but not least, cherish your home life. Even though there will be times after you make friends and get involved on campus, you wish you lived on campus, cherish the movie nights you get with your roommates or family, cherish your pet greeting you at the door, your own laundry room. Just remember that as a commuter, you get the best of both worlds. You get to be an active member of Cumberland University’s community, as well as an active member in your household space. 

I hope that these tips I’ve learned through trial and error are helpful to those of you who are commuting college students! 


PA Talk is a blog created by Cumberland University’s Presidential Ambassadors covering topics and giving advice that is relevant to the CU student experience. For topic suggestions, email Mattie Jennings at

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