How to Survive College: Commuter Edition

I know from personal experience that being a commuter in college can be really hard. The lack of motivation to get up and drive to school, the stress of finding a parking spot, making genuine friends, and eating on campus (especially without a meal plan) are all things that you constantly think about. It’s not easy to make a campus as big as Ohio State feel like home, but thankfully resources like Off Campus and Commuter Student Services (OCCSS) exist to help commuters feel more comfortable.

What is OCCSS? 

The Off Campus and Commuter Student Services office exists to improve the quality of life for off-campus and commuter students. The office is located on the third floor of the Ohio Union, which is without a doubt the best place on campus for commuters. OCCSS provides a commuter kitchen, which is directly next to the Sigma Phi Epsilon Commuter Lounge on the third floor (you’ll have to visit the OCCSS office first to get access to it), and lockers at the Ohio Union and the Younkin Success Center. They can also help students find housing, roommates, and provide services like Rideshare and Carpool that allow students to share transportation to and from campus.

How can OCCSS make commuting easier? 

Eating on campus

Eating on campus as a commuter is difficult especially without a meal plan because it’s harder to manage how much you spend on food during the academic year. Like I said, the Ohio Union is a great spot for commuters because it has options like the Union Market, Sloopy’s and Woody’s. Plus, it’s located along High Street, which means even more tempting food options. If you have classes every day and spend long hours on campus, it’s really easy to eat out frequently and form unhealthy eating habits, which does not feel great. Packing and heating up food from home in the commuter kitchen saves a lot of money, doesn’t take much time to do and is much better for your health. Campus Dining also offers a commuter meal plan, which is good for eating on campus 3-5 times a week using funding that’s added your BuckID account. 

Staying on campus

Although you might not have a room on campus, you can still feel at home. In my first semester, I often went home as soon as my classes ended, and I didn’t spend my time effectively when I went home; because I also wasn’t involved with campus activities, it made me dread being here. If you can, try to avoid scheduling/driving to classes during rush hour traffic hours–trust me: you will waste a lot of time sitting in traffic and it’s really not worth it. Instead of going home at 5 p.m., just find something to do on campus, whether its eating dinner, going to an event or getting work done. My favorite thing about the Ohio Union are the lockers because you can store extra clothes, books you don’t want to carry around, snacks, a blanket, etc., and they are available to reserve at the beginning of every semester; this makes remaining on campus more manageable. The commuter lounge is also a great space to do homework, take a nap, mingle with other commuters or just eat lunch. 

Making Friends 

Unless most of the friends you had in high school conveniently moved to the same college as you, it can be a challenge establishing friendships as a commuter. The biggest struggle for me was being comfortable staying on campus after my classes were over, and finding campus involvement. OCCSS hosts events during the academic year like a Cornhole Tournament, roommate fairs, the Scarlet Warrior Challenge and the Off Campus Living Expo. They also have a commuter mentoring program for first-year commuters which pairs new students with a mentor and includes monthly group events on campus and in the Columbus area. There are also a ton of other organizations on campus in general–pick the one you are most interested in and try it out, you’ll thank yourself later.

Ultimately, what I want you to know is that commuting doesn’t mean you can’t experience college the same way as others. I hope this was helpful and good luck, commuters!

Switching Majors? Don’t Fret

First-years: having qualms about your major? Uncertain about the future? Don’t fret — you’re not alone. Deciding what to major in is challenging. It can feel like one decision determines the trajectory of your life — which is overwhelming, to say the least.


Choosing a major that’s right for you boils down to one little formula: find something you’re passionate about but is still sensible.

For instance, one of my friends loves civil liberties, women’s studies, and everything in between. Her major, political science, is both practical and applicable, and it’s something she’s overzealous about. There are hundreds of majors at Ohio State, and I can guarantee there is something for you; it just needs to be discovered.

If you’re unsure where to begin, start by talking to an expert. The Younkin Success Center offers career counseling and consultations.

Although it’s a bit cheesy, also consider consulting a career quiz.

It’s OK to not have everything figured out. There are resources and people to help! Switching majors can seem stressful, specifically when changing from department to department.

When I switched from the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences to the College of Engineering, I was a bit dazed with an entirely new schedule and even different class settings and locations. However, there are counselors for that. If you’re thinking about switching, talk to an advisor. They will help you transition smoothly and alleviate a lot of stress.

Finding the best fit isn’t always cut and dry. Remember to focus on finding something that gets you excited. Whether it be science, psychology, business, or anything in between, an awesome major awaits you.

10 Things I Did Instead of Studying!

Well, Buckeyes, spring break has come to a close and all I can say is…Why so soon?!

Today I want to see just how many of my proud fellow Buckeyes are suffering from the highly contagious and dreaded disease known as (dun dun dun) PROCRASTINATION!

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Most of us have been there: It’s the night before an exam, homework or a paper is due, and you’ve been staring at your computer for the last 3 hours with absolutely nothing to show for your inner turmoil. Afterward, you promise yourself you won’t wait until last minute ever again, but the real question is how do we get here in the first place? Here’s my list of things I consider to be my biggest time-wasting temptations:

Watching anything and everything interesting on Netflix or Hulu.


Whether you like to watch a series at a time or explore the wide-ranging selection of B-Movies, Netflix is an awesome way to help the hours pass by.

Facebooking, Tweeting, Skyping, Instagramming, etc.


In one second you can be reading an article in an academic journal and the next you’re liking the last 10 statuses your buddies posted about the crappy weather outside.

Finding memes to post that illustrate just how distracted you feel.


You know you’ve done it! Whether it’s Condescending Wonka, Futurama Fry or ermahgerd girl, you’ve found a meme that speaks to you and posted it for all of your friends to see.

Watching videos on YouTube.


You can sink quite a few hours into watching just about anything on YouTube; in the land of funny cats and viral videos, you are sure to be entertained.

Cleaning (a new level of desperation, but effective).


Hmmm, study for your Calc midterm or do the dishes? Normally I’d go with the third option (neither); however, if you need to feel like you’ve accomplished something while doing basically nothing, cleaning your room, apartment or house is always a great option.

Playing with your (or others’) pets.


Pretty self-explanatory; however, the amount of creativity you are capable of possessing when needing a distraction can be quite scary. 

Complaining to others about whatever assignment you have due.


All of your buddies are going to the movies but you have economics homework due. What’s wrong with texting them sad face emoticons all night? After all, misery loves company.

 Browsing Pinterest.


Clothes, funny memes, food, celebrities in weird situations…It’s the best example one can give of how a picture is worth a thousand words. The best part? You can flood Facebook newsfeeds with pictures of stuff your friends probably won’t find even the slightest bit interesting.

Playing video games.


The culprit responsible for the downfall of even the most devoted college students—video games! From PC to PS3, plenty of people have found themselves completely obsessed with some sort of digital distraction in one form or another, and no judgment on the fact that you may have spent your entire weekend playing Grand Theft Auto V or Call of Duty.



What do we want? SLEEP! When do we want it?! Whenever we can get it! I won’t lie, next to Netflix this may be one of my favorite activities to engage in. It’s completely free, good for you and requires absolutely no effort. I just wouldn’t suggest napping during lecture (usually doesn’t end well).

All right, so we’ve covered the basics of Procrastination 101, but what now? If nothing else, hopefully you’ve found this to be a pretty helpful reflection on just how normal it is for you to find yourself easily distracted. Plenty of us have to fight the temptation to put off assignments or studying until later and it’s not unheard of to lose the battle and give in. However, it’s important to know that if you are falling behind in your classes or find yourself earning bad grades despite your best efforts there is plenty of help to get you back on track.

The Younkin Success Center, conveniently located on Neil Avenue next to Bruegger’s Bagels and across from Hamilton Hall, is a great resource for those of us who need a little academic boost. They offer free tutoring five days a week, a Learning Center dedicated to helping students develop helpful and effective strategies related to studying, note taking and exams, Career Counseling, and Wellness Services.

No one ever said college would be easy, but you should never feel as though it’s impossible to succeed. With the right tools, and a positive attitude you can make these years some of the best of your life all you need is to let your motivation defeat your procrastination.