Building the campus commuter connection

Once we get past tuition hikes and parking frustrations during the first week of school, we pretty much figure our problems end here, right?

What we’ll come to learn as college students is “if it isn’t one thing it’s another” (A well known cliché’ that applies to all of us in some way).

Though we can’t conquer the world in one semester, we can try some techniques to make our college careers a bit more adaptable and satisfying.

Speaking as a commuter, I often worry that I am not getting much of an experience here at Oakland. Sure the academic part of it is nice, but other than that what can I really say about Oakland as a school?

I’ve attended Oakland for a year and I’ve probably attended three events, and only because it was a part of a class requirement. It’s not that we commuters don’t want to get involved; sometimes we are discouraged to attend events.

Especially if we have no one to attend events with, we’d much rather stay at home and watch movies. As stated before, I’ve attended Oakland for a year and have yet to make any friends.

I’m mostly on campus to attend class and occasionally study in the library — alone, might I add. I noticed when I covered the OUSC elections earlier this year that most of the candidate’s plans for the upcoming school year included promoting more campus involvement. In order to promote campus involvement, everyone needs to get involved in the promotion process. Not only are the students organizations and OUSC responsible, so are professors!

Sure our professors are involved, they’ll go as far recommending getting our peers phone numbers, but it usually ends there. Most professors don’t take part in what we call the “ice breaker” process.

What they don’t realize is that making friends is very important during your college years. It is easier said than done, particularly for commuters. I know that if I had friends to hang out with at the sporting events or social events, I’d spend more time on campus. The fact is, during class you don’t have much time to get to know your pupils.

If professors set aside time for students to get to know each other this could contribute to the progress of campus participation. Another solution to making friends is joining a campus organization, but not all commuters have that much time to give. Most commuters have a job outside of school, including myself.

One public speaking professor, who likes his students to refer to him as “Charlie” believes that getting to know your peers is essential to succeeding during your college careers.

He dedicates the first day of class to going over the syllabus and then forming a circle around the room, and using a game as a technique in which to memorize everyone in the class’s name, including his own.

He even goes as far as warning his students that they will be quizzed at the end of the month on the proper face and name of each person in the room.

“I think it is important for students to get to know each other’s name, so students can have an environment where they feel comfortable to learn,” said Charlie.

There are handfuls full of professors that do icebreakers, but I think more teachers should go this route. Big Lecture hall classes are the exception, but smaller classes should go for it.