1. There might be an app for that.
Many college campuses that have their own bus systems will have an app that helps you keep track of where buses are going to be and when. For example, my school, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, has an RU Mobile app that helps its students get where they need to go on time. There are also apps that help people navigate the Amtrak and even New York City’s metro. It never hurts to browse the app store to see if there is anything to help you out.
2. Plan your routes.
Don’t wait until the last second to figure out which bus or line you need to take — plan it out ahead of time. A little studying of a map early on may prevent you from missing your bus or train and/or getting dropped off at the wrong location.
3. Practice makes perfect.
If you can practice your route before it actually matters, then you should try it even if it means riding a bus around all day until you’ve got your bearings or have successfully made it to where you need to go without a hitch. Go with friends or even your new roommate and help each other navigate so you don’t feel totally alone in your adventuring.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
The great thing about mass transportation is that you're almost always around people who know the system well. If you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask the other passengers. They will most likely know exactly what you did wrong and how to correct your actions or they will reassure you that you are on the right track.
5. Keep an open mind.
I’m not going to lie, on your first couple days using a bus or train to get from place to place, you may feel like you are never going to figure it out or even decide that you hate mass transport altogether. Just give your new lifestyle a chance and keep with it. Soon you may end up actually liking the convenience of the system, and if you don’t grow to like it, then you will at least learn to live with it in order to enjoy the other exciting new things an urban campus has to offer.
6. Use proper etiquette.
Finally, because you will have to share the bus or train with other people, it is important that you be cognizant of your surroundings. Be kind and courteous to your fellow passengers that you want to treat you with respect. Let people get off before you board, don’t set your backpack on a seat that could be occupied by someone else, thank your bus driver when you get off, etc.
Just like the thought of getting a driver’s license can scare a student who has taken the subway since they were young, taking a bus daily is going to be frightening for small towners. However, college is all about having new experiences along with learning how to navigate the world around you and these six tips will help you do just that.
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