So it’s your first day back to school and, if you’re like me, you’re probably coming to RIC as a commuter student. About 80% of RIC students have to drag their groggy selves out of bed at a God forsaken hour every morning to show up to class. You’ll hear a lot of kids here say that RIC just doesn’t have a lot to offer commuter students, but as a commuter at large representative for student community government and a commuter myself I want to tell you that’s a bunch of bull. So here’s everything you need to know to make the most of your commuting career.
Parking: Dear Lord, parking at RIC should be an article in and of itself since the school is known for its dismal amount of parking spots compared to its growing student body. If you want to get onto campus quick and save yourself the 20 minute walk from parking lot A to Gaige here’s a few tips. Schedule early morning classes; yeah they should be reserved for those lucky resident students who can literally roll out of bed at 7:50a.m. and make it to class at 8, but early morning classes will almost guarantee you get a good parking spot. Early classes are brutal but you can do them, just Dunkin Donuts will become your best friend. Parking also gets easier with night classes if you refuse to wake up early. Try to get on campus at least twenty minutes before your class. Just don’t become one of those parking vultures that follow me as I walk to my car from one lot to another, creepers.
Social Life: I’ll admit, being a commuter at RIC does come with a few disadvantages and trying to meet people is one of them. Being a commuter it’s just so tempting to keep to yourself between classes or even go home. Fight the temptation. RIC students can be an anti-social bunch, but most people will perk up if you actually go out of your way to talk to them. If everyone is sitting in silence before the professor walks into class start up a conversation with a few people or even the whole room. Most of your classmates want to talk as much as you do. If you get along with a few kids in a certain class start a study group. It sounds nerdy, but odds are you’ll hardly study and create a new clique of friends.
Try to keep to touch with kids you really hit it off with in your classes by texting or talking online between semesters, otherwise you’ll lose touch as your friends enter new classes and get buried under a new mountain of school work.
You can also join a few clubs. On most college campuses clubs are a big deal and as much a part of the college experience as partying and making memories you’ll laugh at later in life but never tell your kids. Plus becoming an officer of an organization looks great on a resume.
Make the most of your tuition: College is expensive and since you’re paying out the nose right now you’d better make sure you make the most of it. Living in the dorms really can be the best way to get the most of the campus, but that would just rack up another eight grand a year on your student loan. Use the library to study between classes. Work out at the campus athletic center. You’ll get to know fellow students and there will be eye candy for you while you work out no matter what your preference. Go to a few sporting events and cheer on RIC athletes like a real college student and show your school spirit rather than just sitting at home like most people at this school.
You know that big building in the center of campus called the Student Union? Actually spend a little time in there once in a while. You’ll find flyers advertising upcoming events or you can save the paper and talk to the students who work at the student activities desk to see what’s going on. My hint for you is to look into the trips that Programming and other clubs sponsor throughout the year. You could go to a Red Sox game on the cheap. I would also recommend looking into the trip to Montreal that Programming hosts in the fall semester for usually less than 200 bucks. You get the bus ride to the city and a spot in a hotel room for an entire weekend. Plus the drinking age is 18 in Canada. That’s all I am saying, but I think you get the idea.
Commuting may be tough at times, especially on your gas tank depending on where you live, but trust me it’s worth it. RIC can be a fun school whether you live here or not.