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Get Involved In Student Life if You Live Off-Campus

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 26 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
University Commuter Commuting Student

Students who live at home and commute to university often fear that they will miss out on campus life and becoming a true part of the university community. In fact with the exception of sleeping in a hall of residence, there is little difference between a student commuting from home and any other student. Getting involved at university is important for all students, but for commuting students it is imperative to find a niche for themselves in order to feel accepted. Becoming involved in extracurricular activities and on campus employment are both excellent ways to get involved, get known and feel at home as a university commuter.

Become Involved in Extracurricular Activities

Once lectures are finished and labs are over, university students can either head home and remain alone or stay on campus and get involved in any number of activities. By becoming involved in extracurricular activities not only will commuting students gain valuable experience for their CVs, but they will become known to faculty sponsors, make new friends amongst the other students and carve out their very own niches within their university communities. If you are looking for something to do for a few extra hours on campus before heading home, consider:
  • Trying out for a university sports team
  • Joining or organising a sports club for fun and exercise
  • Becoming a member of the on campus fitness centre and taking a few classes
  • Signing up for a few pre-professional or academic societies
  • Attending meetings for a variety of student societies and organisations
  • Donating your time for fundraising or other university charity drives
  • Tutoring other students

Find On Campus Employment

On campus employment can be elusive, but commuting students should do all that they can to track down a job that will keep them involved with, and interacting with, other members of the university community. While factors such as scheduling and rates of pay must factor into any decision, commuting students should also look for positions that will help them make valuable contacts, gain experience in their chosen field, and start out after graduation with stellar letters of reference. Commuting students should look for on campus employment:
  • As a teaching assistant to an academic or department (for excellent experience and contacts)
  • As a research assistant to an academic or department (again, for excellent experience and contacts)
  • In one of the science laboratories (for practical skills and experience)
  • In the Admissions, Financial Aid, Alumni or Sports offices (to meet a wide cross section of the university community)
  • Delivering university post (you’ll meet everyone on the university staff this way)
  • Working in the students' union, either behind the bar or in the shop (if they have one)
  • Serving up meals in the university dining halls (you’ll meet most fellow students this way)
It is important for all university students to get involved on campus, but for commuting students it is vital to stay on university grounds and to get to know the students and staff that they might not ever meet otherwise. Making friends and career contacts, as well as emergency networks for those nights when it is too late, the weather is too bad or the party was too good to drive home, is a must for all commuting students. Becoming involved in extracurricular activities and finding on campus employment are two of the best ways to become involved as a university commuter.

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