As a commuter, it can be difficult sometimes to feel like an active and involved student. While everyone else is going to events, parties, special lectures, discussions, carnivals—you name it—you are in class or on your dragging commute home. It seems like nothing fits in to your tightly run schedule, right? Wrong. There is plenty going on around campus—you just have to find it. An added bonus is that many of these interesting events are during hours that are not too late for a commuter.
The Drexel Commuter Listserv
One of the best ways to find out what’s going on is the Drexel Commuter Listserv, which is produced by the Office of Commuter and Transfer Students Engagement. This email of current events keeps you updated on what’s happening around campus at commuter-friendly hours. This way, you never feel out of the loop.
Be a Part of Something
Whether it is a student organization, a work-study position, or volunteering in an office or lab, join a team at Drexel. Meet new people, make new friends, and see a side of the Drexel student and staff body that maybe doesn’t belong to your major. This way, you see fresh new faces and also feel as if you are contributing to the greater Drexel community. And what better thing to do than make a positive difference around you? Since my freshman year, I have been an active member of the Drexel Muslim Students Association, the American Medical Students Association, and a volunteer for the Student Center for Inclusion and Culture only on Drexel’s campus. Not only have I been involved in planning and organizing campus events, but I have also met many people outside of my biology lectures, some who are my closest friends today.
Take Advantage of Public Transportation
There are few places in the greater Philadelphia where SEPTA cannot take you. Whether it’s by train, trolley or bus, buying a monthly pass (which costs around $80 or less with the discount provided by the Drexel SEPTA ComPass Program) can take you anywhere inside Philadelphia and many suburbs outside of it, where most of the University’s commuters live. Investing in a SEPTA pass saves you the pain of finding a parking spot, paying for parking, stubborn traffic during rush hours, and paying for gas. Plus, to the contrary of many stigmas, the SEPTA transportation system is one of the safest and most efficient in the country. Just ask me and many others taking advantage of SEPTA at Drexel.
Get a Locker (or Share One)
It’s impossible to carry everything you could possibly need throughout the day without feeling weighed down. For the low price of $10 per term, you can get your own personal locker located in the Hagerty Library to place your books between classes, lab coat, gym gear or lunch. Just a reminder, make sure whatever you put in is not too big. It’s a locker, not an apartment suite.
Don’t Define Yourself as a “Commuter”
Just because you’re a commuter doesn’t mean you have to spend your life in the library or Commuter Lounge—and it definitely does not mean you cannot get a taste of Drexel nightlife. Sleep over at a friend’s apartment or dormitory one night (Drexel allows three nights in a row) and attend an event or two to get a taste. Remember, most people living on or around campus go to parties as often as you do with homework and other daily tasks in the way. Most likely, you aren’t really missing out on much. When you’re on campus with nothing to do, visit places like the Marks Intercultural Center, the hub for many student organizations, where you can hang out with and meet new people with your same personal interests. Whatever it is, find an environment that works for you, a home away from home, and stick to it. That’s what makes the long and grueling commute worthwhile.