Monday, February 14, 2011

Commuting Tips (Reprinted from The Concordian)

This was the first column I wrote when I came back to The Concordian's staff back in the fall semester of 2009. I didn't have a name for the column by this point, that didn't come about until the 3rd or 4th column I wrote. Click here to read a blog where I reprinted another column I wrote, which has a link to click to find out how my column's name came about.

With my work on the staff that semester, I tried to write about common, practical things that others hadn't done before. Nobody had ever written about the best places to take a nap on campus, so I thought something like that would be appreciated by the students. I never had anybody tell me that they actually used any of the advice I gave out, but it's out there if anybody ever needs it.

At the end of this column I mention the Student Government Association Vice President. The advice is still timely, just not the VP I named. The current Vice President is Dustin Blankenship. Find him on Facebook if you need him.

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Originally published Sept. 2, 2009; The Concordian, Concord University

By Chris Slater

Living off campus for the first time in my loooooong tenure at Concord University, it’s allowed me to view good ol' CU in a different light.

As a commuter.

No longer living in the sheltered environment of the dorm, I've been able to see a different side of this university. I drive here at the beginning of the day and leave at the end. I "hit it and quit it" in a sense.

With that said, I've noticed a few differences between living on campus and commuting.

If you're on campus, you typically wait between classes in your dorm room. It’s like going home - kick off your shoes and turn on the TV until your next class.

If you live off campus, you are usually splitting your time between classes on campus. With backpack in hand – and shoes still on – you’re a lot less laid back than the guy sitting in his room watching The View.

If you commute, you've no doubt noticed the hustle and bustle in the crowded student center of everybody getting their lunch or waiting for their next class.

You've likely never seen the student center "night life." That’s just it, though, there's not much to see. On-campus students, in a quiet setting, casually eat their dinner or hang out with their friends. It's a glaring change of pace from the rushed lunch scene of most days.

If you commute, then you look for a parking spot every day. That's sometimes not the case if you live in the dorms.

It’s possible to keep the same parking space – depending on how often you leave – anywhere from two days up to a week.

Commuting to Concord can sometimes be hard to navigate. You may be asking yourself "Where are the best places to study?" The best places (in no particular order) are:

The Rahall atrium. It's a peaceful spot beside the Housing Office. There's a table and couches or chairs to sit in. The only negative is there's a lot of foot traffic through there in the few minutes after each class.

Practice rooms in the Fine Arts Building. These small rooms in the bottom floor all have chairs and most have a desk. The only negative is that they're mainly used to practice singing and instruments. So, the noise level may be a factor.

Top floor of the library. Not a lot of people go up there. There are a few tables and desks scattered throughout the top floor. The only downside is the limited space.

Empty classrooms. If it's class time and nobody's in there, grab a desk and go to town on some homework. At the worst, somebody will come in and tell you to leave. If so, just go to one of the other places I just mentioned.

If you're at Concord all day, fatigue will no doubt set in. The following (again, in no particular order) are the best spots on campus to catch a quick nap:

The Wilson or Wooddell Hall study lounges. Sorry ladies, but the Wooddell lounge has Wilson slightly beat. There are more couches in there and they're more comfortable. Since it's the beginning of the semester, you need to make sure nobody's living in there – which has been the case the last couple years. After that, they should be good for snoozing.

The cubicles in the corner of the library. It's a desk and a comfortable chair, seemingly cut off from everybody around you. Just put in some headphones, put your head down, and relax. This spot is not a good option for snorers.

The couches on the second floor of the student center. Several comfy couches are waiting for you to lay on them between classes. This is an ideal spot for heavy sleepers, as there is a big screen TV in the area as well as a lot of foot traffic.

Your car. It's not glamorous, but if you can’t find any other spots, it's ideal to tilt your car seat back and take a power nap. It may not be comfortable and it will probably be crowded, but at least nobody will bother you there.

If you're a commuter on campus, you need to be made aware of the Student Government Association's Commuter committee. This is a committee that is here for commuter inquiries, gripes, and general help. At press time, a meeting time had not been set up yet. See SGA Vice President Akeya Carter-Bozman for more information.

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