IMG_6605Hello and welcome to your home away from home for the next four(or five) years! My name is Grace Miguel, I am a junior Software Engineering major from Washington Township, NJ—the one in Bergen County. When I was an incoming freshman, I was inevitably asked where I’m from countless times and it was always a confusing question because there are five Washington Townships in New Jersey I resorted to saying, “the one near Paramus”.

I digress, because I live merely 45 minutes to an hour from campus, I commute! I commute via NJTransit so the arrival time can vary. If you choose to commute via train or bus, you can get a student discount. Log into your myStevens account and go to the “transportation & parking” icon. There you will find a couple different icons for methods of travel to and from campus. Click on the icon with the NJTransit logo that reads “Discount Student Tickets” and enroll in the Student discount program. The discount only applies to monthly passes, it is 25% the original ticket price. NOTE, if you choose to enroll online, you will only have the mobile monthly pass. If you want a physical pass you will have to go to the Office of the Registrar to get a physical form to fill out for each month of the semester. The Registrar must sign and stamp it in order for you to get the pass from Hoboken terminal. Monthly passes are available from the 19th of the prior month to the 10th of the month the pass is valid for. Example: You can buy an August pass beginning on July 19th through August 10th. 

If you choose to drive to campus, you can purchase a semester parking permit online at the “transportation & parking” icon mentioned earlier. The semester pass will cost $150 and you will park your vehicle in Babbio garage. Because this Fall is unlike past semesters, Stevens will also be offering daily parking passes for $10/day. Unfortunately, you may not park overnight unless there are extenuating circumstances which you can tell the Campus Police. 

Here are some tips to help your new commuting lifestyle simpler:

  • Early is on time. Even though the train/bus may say it arrives at your home station at 7:37AM it may come 5 minutes earlier if they are ahead of schedule. Arrive at least 10 minutes before the arrival time! You also don’t want to be late to class, especially lab, so make sure you get to campus at least 15 minutes before class begins.
  • Pack your backpack the night before. If you sleep past your alarm and have to run out the door, you don’t want to forget your calculator or even worse, your wallet. 
  • Check the weather! Getting soaked from head to toe is no fun and can easily be avoided.
  • Sign up for StevensAlert, you can do this through myStevens. If school is cancelled or there is a delay due to weather conditions you will get an email and text alert. This has saved me from making a 45 minute trip for nothing.
  • Pack snacks! You never know how long you’re going to be out. You may spend time with friends or exploring Hoboken after class is over… you don’t want to get hungry. I always pack an extra granola bar.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. If you’re walking to and from the Hoboken terminal you don’t want to wear shoes that will give you blisters. 
  • There is a shuttle on 1st and River. This is the blue line. You can find the schedule here. This will take you to the Howe Center.
  • Don’t forget your laptop and phone charger. Don’t let your laptop die during class.
    • Better yet, invest in a portable charger, it’s a life saver.
  • Bring headphones!!! Whether you’re on public transportation,want to listen to music while studying or working out at the DeBaun Athletic Center, headphones are key.
  • Additional items you should carry 24/7: hand sanitizer, chapstick, cash, extra pens and pencils.
  • Try to travel light. This may sound contradictory but you don’t want to get back problems at 18. One way to do this is to take notes on a digital device or alternate notebooks depending on what classes you have that day. 

When I was a first year student, transitioning to this new lifestyle was a big change. I’ll admit, it was exhausting at first but I grew used to it and met other commuters who shared this commonality through the Commuter Student Union. As a commuter, I have the luxury of experiencing college life while still having the comfort of my own bed and personal space. Not to mention the home cooked meals are a plus. 

Just because you’re a commuter does not mean you cannot be involved. Most clubs hold meetings at 9PM, but there are meetings during academic break on Wednesdays between 3 and 5pm as well as in the late afternoon on some days. I am on e-board of the Stute, the school newspaper, a member of a sorority on campus and work at the Writing and Communications Center. If you want to get involved, you can find a way.  If I ever wanted to go to a club meeting or a social event at night, my friends living on campus or in Hoboken would be kind enough to let me crash. Circumstances are different now because of the pandemic, but when things go back to normal, I’m sure your new friends will let you crash. 

This is a lot of information and I know this can be overwhelming but you are not alone in being nervous or even intimated by this new journey. The Stevens community is here to support you and encourage you throughout your Stevens career.

 I hope this was helpful and I look forward to meeting you all!

Grace Miguel, Software Engineering

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