Going to a school in New York City, you’ll find that a majority of students commute to school every single day. Between subway and bus delays, general traffic, and the dreaded rain on too narrow of a sidewalk, commuting can often be unpredictable. While I may not have a long commute, I have a few tips and tricks to help your day go by a little smoother.
Show up early. While it’s easier said than done, try your best to take the earlier train, even if it is 10 minutes, just to ensure that you make it to class on time. While this may be difficult for students commuting from Long Island, if you are within the city, this is definitely a helpful tip! Nothing is worse than the conductor saying “We are being held momentarily. Thank you for your patience.”
Bring your own food. Commuting can be EXPENSIVE. The unlimited monthly metrocards and passes aren’t cheap, so there’s no reason why you should have to spend $15 on a salad. If you bring your own food, it will save you time, energy, and money.
Get a locker. Talk to your department head to see if your major offers lockers for commuters. For Art and Design students, you especially want to consider this because you typically have a lot of supplies. It will also be a huge lifesaver in the winter when you don’t want to carry around your big puffy coat.
Bring a phone charger. This is most likely a staple in anyone’s daily life, but if you have a long commute, your battery may already be at a low percentage by the time you get to school. I highly recommend having a portable charger as well just in case there isn’t an accessible outlet.
Carry the essentials. From gum to chapstick and band-aids, to hand sanitizer and deodorant, you’ll never know when you’ll need your emergency stash, especially once you get off the train.
Wear comfortable shoes…or bring a spare. Depending on your commute and where you get let off, you may still have to walk a ways to get to campus. Wearing uncomfortable shoes may result in serious blisters upon arrival (another reason to always have bandaids).
It’s not uncommon, especially for an Art & Design student to have class from 9 AM – 9:30 PM. Ever since I started here at FIT, I’ve had a 9-9:30 schedule at least once a week. While this can be avoided if you don’t want to be in class all day, for commuters and students with jobs and internships, it’s sometimes necessary to condense your schedule into the smallest window of time. While you’re typically pretty tired by the end of the day, I have some tips and tricks to help you get through the 12+ hour day!
Prepare: This may seem like common sense, but make sure that you have all of your supplies, binders, homework assignments, and notes that you need for the entire day. If you pack everything up in the morning, you’re more likely to forget something in a rush.
Bring food: I highly recommend bringing your own snacks/lunch/dinner if you can! This will not only save you some money, but if you pack a great meal, it’s something to look forward to after class!
Caffeinate: If you like your coffee in the morning or need some extra fuel, coffee can always help! We conveniently have our own Starbucks located in the Dining Hall!
Don’t get ahead: While this may be the exact opposite of what you usually hear, having a 12 hour day is not easy. While it’s tempting to get ahead on your next assignment, you may only have 1 hour in between classes and that 1 hour may be precious time to refuel, take a quick nap, or study for your next class.
Breathe: If you have small breaks in the day, take the time to not focus on your next class and enjoy your meal and time to yourself. Those little moments in the day will help prepare you for your next class.
Living in New York City is not cheap. From wanting to explore all of the sites and try new restaurants, spending an arm and a leg on things like paper towel and shampoo. I’m here to help you get the biggest bang for your buck on the everyday essentials without skimping out on quality!
Toilet Paper & Paper Towel: Home Depot (You’d be surprised!)
Toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, body wash: Harmon’s or Bed Bath and Beyond (Sign up for their emails to get a 20% off one item once a month)
Produce: Trader Joe’s (You don’t pay by the pound, you pay by the number of items)
Groceries: Trader Joe’s or Fairway (Fairway for name brand/generic, Trader Joe’s for their own brand)
Cleaning Supplies: Harmon’s or Bed Bath and Beyond
School Supplies: Staples or the FIT Bookstore, depending on the product
My biggest tip is to try to stray away from places like CVS or Duane Reade, even though it’s convenient because their prices are often 2-3x what you’d pay elsewhere. I hope this helped you save a few extra bucks!
Compared to any university in NYC, FIT has one of the best locations, centrally located in Manhattan, steps from Penn Station and Port Authority, and a quick walk to the Hudson River. Thankfully, with our amazing location, there is always somewhere to eat! Here are some of the resources and restaurants available to you, all within a 3 block radius!
The Dining Hall The Dining Hall located in the Dubinsky Student Center has great options from salads and sushi, to pizza, omelettes, fruit, and sandwiches.
Starbucks Also located in the Dubinsky Student Center is our very own Starbucks. This Starbucks accepts FIT declining balance, cash, and credit cards so you’ll always be prepared to get your morning fix of caffeine!
FIT Express FIT Express is located in the Marvin Feldman Center lobby and is your quick stop to picking up some fruit, a light snack, or a space to eat before your next class.
Brooklyn Bagel Something that I ALWAYS tell anyone that is visiting or coming to NYC for the first time is that they have to go to Brooklyn Bagel located on 8th Ave & 25th St. With an array of cream cheese spreads and hand rolled bagels, I can promise you that you’ll be back for more!
Chipotle Yes, I know, we are in New York City, and it seems absurd for me to recommend Chipotle, but honestly, it’s incredibly conveniently located (7th Ave & 26th St), quick, and satisfying. What more could you ask for?
Fresh & Co Located right across the street from FIT on 7th Ave, Fresh & Co offers create your own salad and pasta, or choose from several soup and sandwich options.
Whole Foods Located at 7th Ave and 25th St, Whole Foods is a great resource for lunch! They have incredible options from their hot bar, sushi section, or create your own salad. Special bonus is that you can always get some light grocery shopping done while you’re there. (Be mindful of the prices of groceries. Trader Joe’s/Fairway is a more affordable option)
Looking back on my first week at FIT, I can remember how absolutely terrified I was. I was in a new city, it was my first time at a university, I knew very few people, and I was already homesick. The first week can be daunting and it is the easiest and the hardest to go through. If you are a brand new student, your first week may be the hardest on you mentally, only because you may be anxious, stressed, and nervous about your classes, but rest assured, your first week will be one of the smoothest weeks of your semester! Your professors will most likely go over the syllabus, what textbooks you need to purchase, potentially a little bit of material and then release you for the day.
Your first week gives you the opportunity to go explore! I highly recommend going with your roommates or friends that you made at orientation/classes and going to a new restaurant, a movie night, or hunting down the best donuts in NYC! Try to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and go celebrate a new chapter in your life! Remember how hard you’ve worked to get to where you are and that the best is yet to come!