Campus Hacks – Getting Around OSU

In the fall of my senior year of undergrad, my college offered a “career planning” class to help itinerant, liberal-art students like myself launch their career search. While I was excited to take some focused steps towards my vocational search, I was immediately skeptical when the first exercise of the class was to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test. The Myers-Briggs is essentially a multiple-choice test that asks test-takers questions like “Would you rather eat spaghetti with a friend or go see a horror movie alone?” I was already skeptical of personality tests, and while I was giving the Myers-Briggs an honest effort, the bizarre mix of wandering yet oddly specific questions seemed to confirm my doubts.

We received the results two weeks later. I got chills as I opened the results analysis and discovered that Myers-Briggs knew more about me than I did. The first sentence of my analysis was, “Despite the fact that you travel to the same locations on a daily basis, you take different routes and time each route to determine which is most efficient.” I was stunned – I do this constantly everywhere I go. Shocked and humbled, I changed my attitude about personality tests that day.

With the help of Myers-Briggs, I have learned to embrace my subconscious need for punctuality. A logistics/efficiency junkie and advocate of alternative transportation (i.e. walking, biking, and public transit), I have spent the last few weeks testing each bike and bus route to campus from my home in German Village. To make most efficient use of time, energy, and resources, I have developed a number of “Campus Hacks” that are helpful for those who (a) hate traffic, (b) don’t want to show up to class sweaty and disheveled, and (c) prefer to do their networking on COTA (Columbus’s public bus system). For my first grad life blog, I wanted to share some of these tips to help reach and navigate campus as efficiently (and comfortably) as possible.

• Pack strategically!

  • Pack your dress shirt separately: I roll my dress shirts (to prevent wrinkling – it’s only semi-successful) and wear a different t-shirt (polyester – performance wicking) while I ride. Once I arrive at school and stand in front of an A/C vent for long enough to cool down, I change shirts and leave the sweaty shirt on my bike outside to dry off.
  •  Invest in good Tupperware: Nothing is more disappointing than a leaky lunch. Pay the premium for good containment supplies to keep your books dry and lunch intact

• Keep a small but ample arsenal of supplies in your locker

  • Coat and tie or Business Wear
  • Fleece: I am always cold in class, and carting a sweatshirt or fleece back and forth everyday takes up unnecessary space and weight in my pack.
  • Granola bars/snacks: Something that can supplement breakfast when time is against you
  • Comb/hair stuff: I get terrible helmet-hair when I ride my bike.
  • Gym Clothes: I keep a pair of tennis shoes, shorts, t-shirt, socks, and even dress shoes in my locker. This way, if I decide to work out during lunch or after class, I don’t have to carry these. On days I ride the bus, I bring the sweaty stuff home and replenish my locker supplies.

• Make productive use of time on the bus: sometimes the weather throws curveballs, and the real benefit from the bus (besides the socializing, of course) is the ability to get other things done in-transit.

  • Print readings and homework out a few days in advance. This way, if you have to take the bus on short notice, you can be sure to make best use of the time.
  • News Aggregators: It’s hard, but important, to make time to read about current events, the economy, etc. I use an app called Feedly, but there are several others out there. Basically, these allow you to build your own newspaper: you choose the media sources and even the categories. The app simply filters new articles from those sources into the categories you setup.
  • Download Podcasts: Podcasts are another great platform for keeping up with current events or other topics of interest – they are free, and sometimes after a series of busy days, projects, and other work it is much more enjoyable to sit back and listen. My favorites are NPR Planet Money, On Being, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, and The Art of Manliness series. Downloading them in advance via WiFi will save you on your data plan!
  • Audio books: The Columbus Metropolitan Library is amazing. My next blog post will probably be entirely about why it is the best library chain in the world and why it is so valuable to citizens of Columbus. In the meantime, I will just mention that if you have a subscription to the library (free) you can download audiobooks to your smartphone or computer (free) through an app service called OverDrive (free). Okay, so it’s not “free” – you pay for it with your taxes – but it is an amazing, underutilized resource.

Travel well!