I attended Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, WV for undergraduate school. I spent five years there, working towards two bachelor degrees. I double majored in psychology and business. I took about 18 credits per semester and worked part time. I was always stressed out, but I was able to have some enjoyable moments as well.
The thing is, it took time to learn what to do and what not to do to make my life easier. While I was there, many challenges came my way. There were so many things to learn, and if I could have known such information ahead of time, it would have made things alot easier. I hope that by sharing these tips with you, it will make your campus life much more enjoyable, right from the start!
1. Organize your classes so that you have classes right after each other in the same building. There are about four major buildings where classes are held, aside from physical education and music courses. So, if you have four classes in one day, and they’re all in different buildings, you’ll end up walking all over the place in the same day. Instead, try and schedule two courses in a row in one place. For instance, White Hall hosts many business courses, so if you need to take two that semester, try organizing them into the same day. Take a 10 am and an 11 am class in that building. This will help you avoid having to go out into the weather, especially if it’s snowing or raining.
Additionally, don’t ever try to take a class on one side of campus and then only have a ten minute break to get to a class on the other side of campus. Don’t take music over in the Art Building and then try to get back over to the main part of campus for Physics. You won’t make it. If you try to walk, you’ll be so out of breath it’s unreal. If you try to drive, you won’t find a parking place.
2. If you take a physical education course, give yourself time to take a shower afterwards. Don’t schedule a course right after this, especially since most of the classes will be on the other side of campus, like in number one above.
3. Parking is an issue. If you are a commuter, you have limited choices of where to park. If you choose to park on the street at the metered spaces, there are some tricks to know. You have to get there at certain times to find a spot. You need to arrive early, such as before 8:30 am, to get a great spot on the street. Or, you need to arrive after about 2 pm, when people start to clear out. Otherwise, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday you might find a spot right on the hour, as one class gets out and people leave and right before the next one begins. On Tuesday and Thursday, the classes are different. You will need to get there at the time in between classes- 10:50 to 11:00 am, 12:15 to 12:25 pm, and 1:40 to 1:50 pm. You can check the schedule. For night classes, arrive early before all the spots are taken.
The other choice is to park in the commuter lot. But these seem to be far away, and then you have to walk a ways and have to deal with weather if it’s raining.
4. If you like having days off, it’s possible at Shepherd. You may be able to get all Tuesday/ Thursday classes or Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes. I remember one semester I took all Tuesday/ Thursdays. I had an 8:10 am, a 9:25 am, an 11:00 am, a break for lunch, and then a 1:50 and 3:15 to 4:30 class. Then, I had an evening class. I was able to get in 18 credit hours just on two days per week. This was incredible- it gave me the option to stay home three days per week. This was an added bonus since I was a commuter coming half an hour from Hagerstown.
5. What about places to meet people and hang out on campus? I was a commuter, which meant I hung out in places where you meet other commuters. I used to eat lunch and/or dinner at the Ram’s Den, which was located in the College Center. It may have a new name now, but it’s basically the commuter place to eat lunch. You pay for your lunch in cash each day you eat. The other option is the dining hall. This is where the on-campus students eat. Generally, you purchase a dining card that gets you meals for the semester, so you don’t ever have to have cash.
Personally myself, I wanted to meet some of the on-campus students. So, what I did was to eat at the dining hall. You can actually pay for each meal there as well. Not very many commuters do this, though. It’s like there is the dining hall for residents and the student center for non-residents. I just like to break the mold- and so should you! Shake things up a bit!
If you do want to meet other commuters, the student center is a great place. There are always people around, studying, chatting or eating.
You could also hang out at the gym or take a swim in the pool. You’ll always find people around there to chat with and meet. Most of them are healthy people too!
The other cool place to go is the library. Although you have to be quiet in general, there are always students- commuters and residents, studying there and doing research.
6. What off-campus restaurants and shops are nearby? If you drive towards Martinsburg, you will find a shopping area with a grocery store, and a McDonald’s, as well as a video store. If you drive towards Hagerstown, in about twenty minutes you will reach the Hagerstown Prime Outlets. You can find quaint little shops on the main street- German street, right in Shepherdstown. As for dining, there is a local pizza joint on German street. You can also find the Bavarian Inn across campus, with fine dining, German style. The Yellow Brick Bank on German Street also offers up the high end of food. Along German street, you will find other small restaurants, with a historic or alternative feel. Betty’s Restaurant has wonderful prices and reminds you of a seventies diner (it’s on German street.)