By Clifford Michel
Start two random conversations on campus and you’ll receive somewhere around 10 reasons about why life at CSI is simply a pain. Whether you’re commuting from Staten Island or one of the outer boroughs, life at CSI doesn’t have to only be filled with running from class to class while constantly cursing your luck.
Enjoying the CSI experience begins with investing more time on campus. Before you begin to roll your eyes, think and evaluate why you never enjoy your time on campus. Often, students get to class along with the rush of students who are also trying to get there on time. So the long lines and packed campus are already working against your favor.
By planning to spend more time on campus you can begin to mix and match your day to avoid everyday pet peeves. For example, lines are longest during breaks and between scheduled start times for classes (9:55-10:10am, 12:05-12:20pm, etc). So if you’re wondering why it’s taking so long to use the computer or buy a bag of chips at the Barnes and Noble bookstore, take a quick look at the time and wise up.
Everyone has a different lifestyle and some students have complicated schedules, but scheduling more time on campus opens up countless avenues to improving your life on campus.
After expanding the amount of time you spend on campus, start planning ahead and be time savvy. This tip is pretty far reaching and you’ll thank yourself everyday on campus for following it. The first thing you need to do is take a long hard look at your schedule and examine all of your needs to get through the day without a hitch.
You might assume that this means check your school supplies but this tip can be a real lifesaver. Sit back and think about everything you need throughout the average day on campus. This can include time to eat, kick back at the library, type up your homework, and hang out with friends.
If you want a sweet and short trip to one of the eateries on campus, try to avoid breaks and club hours. The best time periods for short lines is whenever classes are in the middle of their sessions (have a 10:10am class? Try hitting the café somewhere around 9:30am).
If you’re not into campus food, and you wouldn’t be alone, pack your own lunch and use the same rule of thumb to avoid long lines at the microwave.
You should also think about bringing some entertainment with you besides music. In all honesty, earphones send one simple message: don’t bother me. And you don’t want that; human interaction is a lot of fun, I swear.
While giving up sleep or rushing from work just to get to CSI earlier may seem like a pain, the peace and extra time will definitely come in handy.
With your time well planned out, the next step to enjoying campus life is finding your inner sanctuary. This is different for everyone, but your inner sanctuary is a place on campus where you can metaphorically let your hair down.
For some it’s reading their favorite novel while curled up in one of the oversized chairs with a cup of coffee. For others it could be jamming to your favorite album while lifting things up and putting them down. The beauty of this tip is that everyone is different and it honestly doesn’t matter what you choose as long as you’re at peace (yes, taking a nap on the third floor of the library counts as a sanctuary).
While the first four tips focused on the self, the last three will focus on the social aspect of surviving on campus.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and be “that guy” in class. Everyone knows that one student in class who seems like they’re trying too hard to be the super-duper social butterfly. You may roll your eyes at them but take note and realize that he/she usually walks out of the course with at least one or two friends.
Putting yourself out there is nerve-racking and there’s no denying that. The lucky part is that at the beginning of any course, almost everyone else is feeling just as awkward as you.
You’ll feel like an idiot for being the only one who introduces yourself to everyone around you, but it’s better to do it early rather than find out that the person you sit next to is socially incompetent halfway through the semester.
Just join a club. This is suggested so often that it almost feels like a cliché at this point. Needless to say, there’s a reason that everyone and their mother suggests joining a club. It’s because when you take part in anything with individuals who hold a similar interest to you, you make yourself part of a mini ecosystem. Together, you all grow, work together and you begin to build a unique culture. Inside jokes become funnier, hangouts seem to fly by, and hanging out on campus becomes a highlight of your week.
Before you know it, you guys begin to plan classes together and even (gasp) plan outside of school hangouts. Heck, you might even throw a party or two.
Without exaggerating, joining a club on campus and immersing yourself into its culture is perhaps the closest thing on a commuter campus to the “college experience.”
That being said: if you can’t find the movers and shakers, become one. Waxing poetic about clubs on campus is always fun, but you may run into a few clubs that are dysfunctional or barely even exist. If this is the case, take initiative and start your own club.
It seems (and is) a lot of hard work and you may not see the fruits of your labor until a year into it, so make sure it’s something you’re willing to commit yourself to.