7 Tips to Help With the Transition to University, While Living at Home
- Be considerate about keeping in touch with those at home. Always let someone know where you are so they aren’t worried and wondering.
- Post your class schedule and a list of the dates of major tests or assignments for your family to see.
- Keep a list of important names and numbers where your family members can reach you, if necessary.
- Even as a student, you’re still a member of the family. Make an effort to help with chores around the house and try to make it home for dinner a few times a week to share a meal and catch up on each other’s lives.
- Be responsible. If you plan to be partying on-campus, don’t drink and drive. Make other arrangements – stay with some friends locally or carpool with friends. Make sure your family knows where you are.
- Earn greater independence by demonstrating your maturity: do your own laundry; make your own lunch or dinner; wash your dirty dishes. If you were living off-campus in a rental unit, you’d have to do all these things for yourself anyway!
- Respect the house rules. Even though you may be older and more independent, it is still your parents’ house – so there may be some rules you’ll just have to accept while you’re living there.
A. The best thing to do is rent a locker. They are located inside various buildings across campus, so you should think about where most of your classes are going to be held, then look for a locker nearby. There are a limited number of lockers available, so make sure you sign up for one during the first week of school. All lockers are assigned first come, first served. Payment is required. Learn more about renting a locker here.
A. There are no communal refrigerators, so best to keep it in your locker, with a cold pack. There are several microwaves located on the first floor of the Student Centre. The Student Wellness Lower Lounge (SWELL), located in the basement of the Student Centre, has a microwave – and free tea – and free fruit on Fridays!
A. The Students Union runs a service called SWHAT (Student Walk Home Attendant Team). Two of their trained volunteers will come meet you anywhere on campus and walk you home within “Zone 1”, or even take the bus with you if you live a bit further away.
A. Security Services runs the lost and found service. They have a drop-off bin beside the main elevator in the Student Centre. If you are looking for an item, you must register through the Campus Security website, and they will try to find a match in their system. You should also check the various “Class of (Year)” Facebook pages; often students will post about items they’ve found.
A. There are lots of ways to meet people, but it will take a bit of effort on your part, since these people are not living down the hall from you, like in residence.
- Join our Facebook page: Class of (year) – McMaster University – Off-Campus Students. We will be posting here about all sorts of activities and events that we have planned for our incoming off-campus and commuter students. It’s also a great forum to share your questions and concerns, since the off-campus reps will also be part of this group, so they can share their knowledge and experiences, having gone through this within the last year or two.
- Come out to our Summer Sneak Peek events, Summer Sleepover and Welcome Week! We run special events throughout July, and all welcome week, just for off-campus and commuter students. You will have the chance to meet and mingle with students from your faculty, and maybe find a new buddy to commute to campus with! Come and look for the reps in the orange jumpsuits and they’ll take care of you! Details: macwelcomeweek.ca
- Join the Mac/One program. This program is designed to solve the exact problem you are worried about! By joining, you will be placed into a community with other off-campus students, based on a common interest. That community will then be paired with one of the residence buildings, so you can meet more like-minded students. Throughout the school year, you will be given a key to access the residence building common areas, to encourage casual socializing whenever you feel like it. There will also be numerous events designed for your community group, to help build those personal connections.
- Join the Society of Off-Campus Students (SOCS). SOCS has been a student group for over 35 years. They run social events all through the school year for their members. One of the most popular benefits of being a member is the fact you can play on one of their intramural teams for free (with the purchase of a $15 membership)!
- Join one of over 300 clubs on campus. During the 1st week of school, be sure to check out Clubsfest in the centre of campus. Every club will be present to tell you about their mission and focus.
The cost of car maintenance, traffic problems, parking costs, and losing that extra hour of precious sleep in the morning are a few of the factors that can make commuting a source of frustration during the school year. However, the long drive to school and back doesn’t have to be a bumpy ride.
Whenever you drive, make sure that you’re prepared for all situations.
- Have an emergency car kit with jumper cables, a flashlight and a warm blanket in case of a breakdown.
- Always keep your cell phone charged.
- There are several gas stations around the McMaster University area, so always have a full tank of gas for the ride home just in case you get delayed in heavy traffic.
- Pay attention to weather and traffic reports for alerts about problems or delays. If the roads are a mess, arrange to stay at a friend’s house or place of residence. For these types of situations, you may want to consider keeping a small overnight bag in your car with a toothbrush and a change of “unmentionables”.
- Consider purchasing a CAA membership to help you in case your car breaks down, or you have a flat tire.
- Be sure to register for a parking space as soon as you receive your McMaster photo ID card. Students must park in designated parking lots, and monthly fees are applied.
Alternative Commuting Options
- Hamilton offers a great bike share program, called SoBi.There are many of their bike racks on campus, and rates are low for students.
- Contribute to a cleaner environment and carpool when you can. This cuts down on pollution and traffic, as well as saving you money on gas and parking prices!
- If you live in the Hamilton area, take the city bus! Your unlimited bus pass on the HSR has already been paid for in your student fees for the whole year.
- We have a GO bus station right on campus, making your commute that much easier if you live in Mississauga, Oakville or Burlington.
- Coach Canada and Megabus also visit our campus for anyone traveling from Niagara, Cambridge or Waterloo areas.
Carpool Safety Tips
- Avoid vehicles in which the driver or other passengers are not properly wearing or using a mask. Masks should cover both the nose and mouth.
- Limit the number of passengers in a vehicle.
- Avoid carpooling with individuals not in your household or whom you do not live with.
- Carpool with the same small group only.
- Try your best to practice physical distancing. Sit in the backseat on the passenger side or as far away from the driver as possible.
- Improve ventilation. Roll down windows or set the air conditioning to non-recirculation mode.
- Avoid touching high contact surfaces including internal and external door handles, seatbelts and door frames. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer as soon as possible after.
- Avoid drinking or eating in a vehicle to ensure your mask is appropriately worn throughout the duration of the ride.
- If you are the car owner, perform regular and routine cleaning to disinfect surfaces that are high contact points for hands.
- Clean surfaces after every journey.
- Clean surfaces when visibly dirty.
- Clean surfaces after driving an individual exhibiting symptom or who are ill.
Additional considerations for ride sharing and taxi services:
Great Places to Chill Near McMaster
1. The Phoenix Restaurant in the Refectory Building — A nice place to hang out with friends, maybe take part in the weekly trivia night, hosted every Tuesday night
2. Centro in the Commons Building — Great selection of food from all over the world
3. 1280 Bar & Grill and The Grind in the basement of Togo Salmon Hall.
4. Bridges Cafe in the lower level of The Refectory building (vegan and vegetarian food) — Bridges is a quiet place, always great for meeting with friends or studying
5. The McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC) — a building where you’ll also find many study rooms, lounges and quiet places to sit or study.
6. Take a walk through Cootes Paradise to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature.
7. Williams Coffee Pub across from the Health Sciences Centre, on Main St. W.
8. Tim Hortons at the corner of Main St. W. and Hollywood St. N. or Tim Hortons in Westdale.
9. Second Cup in Westdale
Don’t forget to check out the steps, benches and picnic tables all over the scenic McMaster Campus to soak up some sun or do a little “people-watching”!