on campus

College Student Probs: Campus Driving and Parking= Nightmare

As my sophomore year at the University of Kentucky approached, I was particularly excited for two reasons:

1. I would be living in an apartment instead of a dorm
2. I would be taking my car with me this year

I felt like a true college student now, unbound by freshman limitations.

Of course, just like when we were younger and couldn’t wait until we were 13 years old or until we could watch a rated R movie in the theatre, we’ve always over-romanticized the next step to becoming an adult. And what is being an adult if you can’t go anywhere off campus? Well. Within less than a week, oh have I realized that having a car in college can surely be a nightmare…

To give you an idea of the parking situation at my apartment complex: All the residents receive a parking pass. There are, more or less, enough parking spots for each resident. No one who is not a resident can park in the lot, except visitors, who only can in certain spots at specific times throughout the week. All violators will be towed.

I returned late the first night at my apartment, tired and eager to just get into bed. I also didn’t want to park too far from my room because it was dark. And I was alone. To my frustration, not only were there no open parking spots, but there were people parked in handicapped spots and all along the curbs! And, of course, there is always that guy with the big truck who takes up two parking spots. There was just no way all those vehicles belonged to residents. So, after circling the three parking lots, I surrendered and parked along the last open curb, praying I wouldn’t find a ticket on the windshield the next morning…

…The next morning, I didn’t find a ticket. I didn’t find my car. Yup, it got towed. There went a whopping $122 to win my precious hostage back… Mental note: Try not to drive if possible; especially at night.

Not only is finding parking at my apartment a problem, but whenever I want to go anywhere in Lexington, I am fighting my road rage. Every hour feels like rush hour. Coming from Louisville, I’m not quite used to the way the roads are set up in Lexington. I don’t understand the curvy four lanes or why a light will turn green when the light right after it is still red… The green light is meaningless because we can’t even move!

And half the drivers in Lexington belong in this show:

Anyway, I’m also not too savvy with directions; I know how to get to places on campus on foot, but not exactly with a car yet. So it’s a bit difficult debating between driving and hoping to find a place to park somewhere closer to my destination or just making a 30-minute walk.

Although it is nice to have a car and have the freedom to drive places whenever I need or wish, there definitely are disadvantages, at least on my campus. But, when it comes down to it, the pros outweigh the cons in my situation because I can drive a little over an hour to return home, and I’ll be off campus volunteering and working on stories for my broadcast journalism class weekly.

So, if you’re thinking about whether or not you should take your car to campus, or you share the frustration of having a car there, here are some words of advice:

• Realistically ask yourself how often you would have to drive or leave campus during the year
• Find out bus schedules; some are free service and run even late at night
• Look up when free parking is available in certain parking lots or garages
• Consider buying a campus parking pass
• Consider riding a bicycle
• Try not to drive your car late at night if you do have limited parking spaces
• (Probably the most helpful) Make friends who live around different parts of campus or the city

-Do you think having a car on campus is an issue at your college?
-What’s the most convenient mode of transportation for you?

Broke College Student Looking for Jobs on Campus?

Sure any job would be great for a college student, especially when all we can think about is the thousands of dollars in loans we will be paying off for the next several years. Working on campus wouldn’t be one of your highest paying jobs, but there are some perks, one being that you can walk to work. If you are going to take the on campus job route, why not try and get one that seems most fun?

1). Lifeguarding – Let’s start off with what seems like the most fun job you can have at school; lifeguarding. All you need is your certifications and you get to hang out by the pool, and make sure you are doing your job. To attain these certifications, courses must be taken usually at somewhere in between $100-$150, but it is certainly worth it. For people that already have these certifications and are lifeguarding over the summer, this opportunity is perfect for you on campus. At Ramapo College we do actually have surrounding elementary and middle schools use our pool for classes where paid student lifeguards are on duty. As a lifeguard you are to enforce the rules of the pool, protect and help anybody in trouble, you must be able to provide first aid, and perform CPR when needed.

2). Desk Attendant (Gym) – As a daily gym goer myself, a job that I should probably look into for next semester is the gym desk attendant job. As a gym desk attendant at most schools you sign people in and out of the gym making sure everybody entering is a member of the college being either student or faculty. In most cases you are allowed to bring your books and laptops so you can get some homework done in the meantime. A good perk about this job is that you can either get a workout immediately after your time at the desk or even before. Any sort of desk attendant job will give you the opportunity to get homework done which is a perfect situation for busy college students. Getting paid to make sure students show their correct identification, while being able to get homework done? Why not?

3). Tutoring – Tutoring is a great on campus job in which you are not only getting paid for, but spreading your knowledge with other students as well. This might be one of the higher paying jobs on campus as well. If you are excellent at a certain subject, tutoring is a good job opportunity that you should look into.

4). Resident Assistant – Being a Resident Assistant (RA) may be a job in which you have to devote a lot time to, but the payoff is huge at the end of day. You don’t necessarily get paid a large amount, you actually get paid what the average for on campus jobs is, so what do I mean when I say it is a huge pay off at the end of the day? Well this is because you save major bucks on housing and meal plans. Some colleges give completely free housing, but many schools have discounted housing, along with discounted meal plans. You can save a lot of money for these things and your loans that pile up throughout the years will certainly be a lesser amount than students not getting compensated with free housing, and meal plans.  Sure it can be a tough job at times especially since it may put a stop on what nights you can and cannot go out, but again, definitely worth it in the end. As a resident assistant your job is to keep the floor you are assigned to, in order. Creating events for the building you are in and things of that nature are also in your job description. So if you are looking to save some big bucks, while ready to give up some of your weekends? Well then a resident assistant job is great for you.

Remember though, this is college and you certainly want to work hard so you can play hard. If a position you are looking for is filled, keep searching and find the right on campus job opportunity for you. Some spare cash while living away at school is always a plus, especially when essentials are needed.

Housing Hell: Finding Your Roommates, Finding Your Place

Towards the conclusion of freshmen year especially, it’s an exciting time to select your housing for the upcoming school year.  You might be inundated with offers to live with some friends on or off campus—or you might be struggling to find the right housing situation for you.  Either way, it’s recommended that you consider these five points when picking your housing for any year:

1.      Living with Friends 

At face value, it seems obvious that living with your closest friends is the best option.  However, this is not always the case.  In fact, it might be a poor choice more than it’s a good one.  When you live with someone you’re extremely close to, you might find that your living habits are drastically different.  This can lead to constant bickering and arguments about how you want your dorm room or apartment to be.  Unfortunately, sometimes this results in losing a close friendship.  This won’t always happen, of course, but if you’re planning to live with a close friend, make sure your living habits are compatible to some extent.

2.      Do You Have a Car? 

This wasn’t an issue my freshmen year because all underclassmen at my university are required to live on campus and freshmen are not allowed to have cars.  However, when you have a choice to live on or off campus, it’s important to consider your transportation options.  Is there a shuttle service from off campus areas to your university?  Is it within walking distance?  Will you have to commute far via car or bus to get to class each day?  These are always good questions to ask yourself before making the decision to live off campus.

3.      Pricing:  On Campus versus Off 

Sometimes living in an apartment with a monthly lease, rather than an on-campus residence, is less expensive.  Do the math.  If your school offers a dorm or on-campus apartment for $3500 a semester, how much cheaper or more expensive would a lease be at, let’s say, $500 a month?  When looking at rents you should also estimate utilities, cable, Internet, and trash pickup, as those are not always included in the base rent.  In addition, if you sign a year lease but won’t be around for the summer, you might also want to consider subletting.

4.      Furnished or Not? 

Most dorms and on-campus apartments are fully furnished, which is why those housing options are usually more expensive.  When you move off campus, you will likely be responsible for furnishing much, if not all, of your place.  You need to decide what type of furniture (i.e.:  a bed and desk) is necessary and what isn’t (i.e.:  a flat-screen television).  Then you need to factor in the cost, and estimate how close the price will be to the price of living on campus, if the money is of concern.  Finally, you need to plan out when and how to move everything in.

 5.      Available Resources 

Various resources are usually available on your school’s housing website, which should list the housing options available for various students, the rates, and the amenities.  There might also be a link to certified off-campus housing finders.  Do a quick Google search or sweep of your school’s website to fund such resources.

It’s always important to consider these points in order to avoid housing hell.  Having personally dealt with some roadblocks when trying to get the housing I needed at school, I recommend that you have a primary plan and a few backups.  Just remember the resources you have if your housing situation doesn’t work out, or if you run into some other problems along the way or during the school year.  Remember, housing only lasts a year (or semester if you really need to move somewhere else), and having a good environment to come home to after class or your extracurricular activities is one of the best sources of alleviating stress!