Commuter Life: When your car is your dorm, spruce it up with these necessities


“How do you do it?”

Maybe it’s because of my eye bags, my constant yawning or because someone heard me crying in the bathroom stall again, but for some reason, I get asked this question all the time. My daily routine is all over the place, and as a result, so am I.

Somehow, I’ve miraculously made it to my junior year, and for that, I’d like to give a shout out to the homies Coffee and Quizlet. But the truth is, I couldn’t have done any of this without my car. Maria Mazda, you’re the real MVP!

I don’t have a room on campus or an apartment within walking distance, so as a commuter, my car is my dorm. If you’re in the same boat, here are some things your home away from home needs to have.

The Student, The Commute and The Wardrobe: Okay, so I may have flashed more people on campus than I’d like to admit, but I swear this is out of pure necessity. I’ve got places to be, people to meet, errands to run and to be honest, the occasional nip slip is the least of my worries!

I’m continuously commuting from school to work, from Philly to Jersey, (and always hitting traffic throughout it all) so to make my schedule work I need to make the most of every minute. I don’t have the time, or gas, to make multiple stops at home. As a result, my car has become my changing room.

In my mobile wardrobe, a.k.a. my trunk, I keep work clothes, gym clothes, dress clothes, casual wear and an extra jacket. When you live on the run, it’s also important to keep proper footwear. I keep a pair of sneakers if I’m trying to squeeze in a workout, and some heels just in case I’m feeling saucy.

I don’t have a room on campus or an apartment within walking distance, so as a commuter, my car is my dorm.

The Munchies: The squirrel is my spirit animal: not only are our attention spans shockingly similar, but we are both intelligent creatures. As the squirrel collects acorns for the winter, I, the broke college student, stash food in my car to survive the harsh semester. Unfortunately, Xzibit has yet to come through and pimp my ride with a waffle maker and hibachi grill, but my 2008 Mazda3 does come with a few surprises inside.

I store trail mix in the middle console because I need that brain food (I actually just pick out the chocolate). Emergency “Oh my god, I’m gonna be so late”  protein bars are stashed in my glove compartment for when I miss breakfast. And you’ll always find a couple of water bottles in the back seat because, I mean, your girl gets thirsty. Not everyone has the time or money to eat out or cook at home, so keeping some snacks in the car comes in clutch.

I’m Charged Up: Look, you might think this is a simple tip, and you’d be right, but listen here my commuting brothers and sisters: a car charger is a godsend. If I have to change in my car, do you think I have time to sit around and wait for my phone to charge? I use my phone as an iPod, a GPS, and if there isn’t any wifi, I use it to write my papers and study for exams. With so much of my time spent on the move, I need my phone to keep up.

The Cash Stash: Above all, with so much of my life spent in my car, I have to make sure that baby is running. I’d like to say saving money is easy, but I’m my own worst enemy. A part of me will say, “Your car insurance is due tomorrow. Good thing you have just enough money in your bank account to cover it. Job well done, Breanna!” But then two minutes later I’m three sushi rolls deep, and I’m asking myself, “How did I spend so much, and yet I’m still hungry?”

Because of my “Split” personality, instead of hiding teenagers in my basement, I strategically hide money in my car. After I cash a check, I keep a twenty in my glove compartment as my “Gas Cash.” I put a Washington under the seat or a Lincoln in my sun visor. If I can’t find the presidents during our ongoing game of hide and seek, I dip into my change jar. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge off a handful of nickels.

Every day doesn’t always run smoothly. Trust me, I’ve violently beat down my steering wheel and flipped off enough people while driving to know. But when life gives you lemons… trick that bad boy out and make your commute a little easier.

For comments/questions about this story, email or tweet @TheWhitOnline.