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Time Management as a Commuter

Time Management as a Commuter


Waking up bright and early for your 8:00 am exam is already a stressful task, but the additional feat of battling your way through unpredictable California traffic can add a new level of stress. However, surviving optometry school as a commuter and still getting the full graduate experience is entirely possible. Planning ahead and leaving time for unpredictable events is key to getting to campus on time. My primary piece of advice is to check your commute duration without any traffic, and when it comes time for your morning commute, to double it. The bonus is that getting to campus early means you will likely snag a spot in the parking garage. Leaving later not only results in more traffic to sit in, but may add the additional step of parking in the overflow lot and waiting for the shuttle to take you to campus. Arriving to campus early allows you to take some time to catch up, review your notes, and grab yourself a well-earned coffee.

I often go explore a variety of coffee shops to study over my breaks in order to get myself off campus for awhile. In the evening, I (try to) leave time to work out and will use the MBKU locker rooms for a quick shower before going to practice in lab. Surviving as a commuter comes down to planning out your entire day and packing for any possible way it may lead you – if you think you might have time to go to the gym, make sure to pack gym clothes, shower material, and a change of clothes (don’t forget socks!) I have a commuter survival kit with mini versions of everything I need, ranging from mini shampoo bottles to a small hairbrush to Ibuprofen. Essentially, living out of your car helps. Packing a duffel bag with a spare change of clinic clothes, gym clothes, and a nice outfit will help you to avoid any panic over forgetting something. You may be completely focused on your upcoming lab practical on a Friday morning and show up in clinic attire, likely not thinking of potential plans to go out with friends later that night. Instead of making an entire extra trip, spending money on a new outfit you picked up close to campus, or just going home and experiencing some serious FOMO, a pre-packed outfit already stashed in your car will solve your problem.  

With such a tight-knit community at MBKU, it is easy to find friends who will let you crash at their place or hang out with them during down time. Don’t assume that commuting will automatically make you feel disconnected or left out. Always push yourself to make the extra trip to go to campus events on Saturdays or to visit your friends in Fullerton on weekends who are doing something unrelated to school. These memories are the ones that will stick with you when you graduate, and truly make you feel like a part of the MBKU family.




Caroline Marhefka

Optometric Intern

Class of 2023 Co-Secretary 

OC MBKU Lions Club President

MBKU Peer Advisor

Southern California College of Optometry

Marshall B. Ketchum University

2575 Yorba Linda Blvd. Fullerton, CA 92831


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