The Commuter Life - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)
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Campus Life
August 5, 2022

The Commuter Life

Commuters seem like an extinct breed now a days, but in reality, they are quite common to come by. Typically hiding in the library, sleeping on a couch in Skye lounge or lurking around Alexander Dining Hall in hopes of snagging a meal swipe from a friend, commuter students live a nomadic lifestyle. Thriving in environments that are dry, comfortable, and located closely to microwaves, these students blend into the campus easily as if they were an official resident.

As a commuter myself, I know that this blending in trick only works so far and at some point during the semester, your living situation is found out. Entering class drenched because you forgot your umbrella, enduring a class period with a growling stomach because beating traffic won over packing food, or wearing a sweater in the chill of the morning to then be sweating by noon during the heat of the day are all some uncomfortable situations that can make commuter life difficult.  

I think it is important to say that if you are commuting to college, you may not have to go through the work of moving out, but there are still things you should be aware of that can make commuter life a bit easier. Starting off, one must realize that the backpack is a commuters oxygen tank, one’s means of survival. This portable dorm isn’t a convenient or light weight living situation, but making sure one has the appropriate daily essentials with them is important. To start you off on your commuter life journey, here are ten essentials that should never be forgotten!

  1. Gloves:

Many blustery days role by in Beaver Falls, especially in those early spring semester months. While warm days do exist, some can be bitterly cold. Walking from your car to campus and from building to building can be a chilling experience to say the least. So, don’t risk frost bite; bring a pair of gloves.

  1. Umbrella and Rainboots:

As a commuter, generally it is difficult to predict the weather. But again, Beaver Falls is known for some pretty dreary days, and rain tends to hit unexpectedly. That being said, rainboots and an umbrella could potentially save you from a soggy situation. Let’s just say that too many times I’ve walked into class looking like I was hit by a tsunami, knowing full well I could have prevented it.

  1. Commuter Lockers:

While commuting can be a great blessing, it can also prove to bring some challenges. Walking onto campus with a backpack that looks like a cargo train, I truly know how it feels to have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Commuter life really does test the limits of one’s backpack. I have had to fortify straps, reinforce zippers, strategically organize items to maximize space but regardless of trying to successfully carry more, finding a way to lighten the load remained. Then the fateful day came when I discovered the commuter lockers! If you would like to look into getting a commuter locker, head to the Student Development Office in Skye Lounge. It will really take a load off your back, literally.

  1. Hygiene Products:

Personal hygiene may not be your number one priority when walking out the door, but trust me, if you don’t consider it, then those sentiments will become apparent to others. As the temperatures rise, the need for deodorant will too. That is why throwing a stick of deodorant in your bag could really be an easy fix to a smelly situation. While deodorant is an important item, breath mints could also prove to be a “life saver,” pun intended. Heaven forbid you forget to brush your teeth in the morning, these little breath mints tucked away in your bag could send you off to a fresh start.

  1. Extra clothes:

Waking up in the morning with weather in the 30s can be a misleading guide to the appropriate attire to wear for the rest of the day. Packing an extra pair of clothes or even an extra t-shirt is a good idea just in case the weather does an unexpected switch on you. Don’t have room in your backpack, again, lockers exist for a reason!

  1. Water Bottle:

Probably obvious, but I have walked on campus without a water bottle. I’ll keep this brief. Hydration is important so bring one.

  1. Lunch Bags and Granola Bars:

Living from home is fantastic, especially when you have had a long day and your mom made a nice dinner that you can eat. Unfortunately, most days, your meals will not line up with the family’s and skipping one or two can become the norm. For cases like this, investing in a lunch bag isn’t a bad idea.

Even though this lunch bag gig works well enough, sometimes packing a full lunch is too time consuming and isn’t possible to do before rushing out the door. In one of these last-minute dashes, throwing a granola bar or two in your bag is a no brainer.

  1. Flex Points and Meal Swipes:

Packing small snacks as a commuter can be fantastic, but honestly, if you're starving, one granola bar isn't even going to make a dent. That is why the world of flex points and meal swipes exist. Geneva offers various meal plans that commuter students can choose from. If packing a lunch didn’t fit into your daily agenda, then a few emergency flex or meal swipes can really save your day. To look into buying a commuter meal plan, go to: https://www.geneva.edu/student-life/commuter-life

  1. Hand Sanitizer:

Could you see this one coming? Putting the recent global pandemic aside, remembering this item is generally a good idea. Whether eating your packed lunch or cracking open a granola bar, germs feel welcomed to join your meals. So, pack the hand sanitizer, and wave 99.99% of those germs goodbye. 

  1. Study Blanket:

Now, this last essential is more of a deluxe item for commuter students. As many people know, Geneva has really beautiful places to study around campus, indoor and outdoor. However, sometimes there is nothing like finding one of the many gorgeous green lawns scattered throughout campus to sit down and dive into your homework. I know many environmentalists out there would say that “grass is Earth’s natural blanket,” but I find that it isn’t the most comfortable thing to lie down on. That being said, packing a blanket in your car or in your commuter locker could really be a nice thing to have in the fall and spring.

The commuter life can be one that is full of adventure. Driving from home to school can be an interesting experience and incredibly convenient when you think about all the work it takes to move to college. If you forgot to take something important with you, it really isn’t a huge problem. You’re just a quick drive away from grabbing it from your house. While living close to home is convenient, bringing the right things to campus can make your day a load easier. So, take a glance at this list, fill that backpack, maybe search for a locker, and get commuting!

-Abby Forton ‘22