College 101: Commuting


I’ve seen it happen to the best of us. We get all excited about going to college and living on campus. A party down the street from your dorm every night? Awesome!

… Until you get the bill.

Then, you college socialite, you are forced to save cash by living at home (or a nearby apartment) and commute.

Above is pretty much what happened to me after freshmen year, but I found that commuting has its perks. Here are a few tips to help you out:

1. The Traffic Light rule:

With credit to Tricks of the Trade, know that a yellow light stays yellow one second for every 10 mph of the speed limit. So if the road you are driving on has a speed limit of 35 mph, expect a 3 second yellow light.

2. Study!

If you are driving to school everyday turn over to NPR and learn a little something about your world.  If want to be really ambition there are audio books too. For those who travel by subway or bus, you are the truly blessed. Depending on your commute length, you can probably get a majority of your homework done on the way to class.

3. Save some cash:

College is expensive enough.  Make sure that if you drive you get optimal gas mileage. Most sites will tell you to keep your tires inflated among other things. But the surefire way to waste gas is to have a lot of crap in your trunk weighing your car down. The goverment’s advice can be found here. Included is this nifty little chart to the right showing what is the optimal travel speed.

4. Don’t park in the ghetto:

I don’t know how applicable this is to every college, but your school is in an urban area, be smart. Know where the most break-ins happen and avoid them. Even if it means paying for parking stay out of those trouble spots. Be sure to follow the standard “park in well lit areas” strategy. If you have a CD player be sure to remove the head unit. If paying for parking irks you, imagine how much a new window will cost if your car is broken into. Alternatively some friends of mine just own a really crappy car and keep the door unlocked. That way the car wont be stolen and if a theif wishes to enter the car, they wont break a window.  Use at your own risk
Other Links:

Social help
The cost of commuting

What tips do you guys have?

See all “College 101” posts here.

[tags]Commuting, College 101, gas mileage, theif, study, NPR[/tags]

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