Every day, sonography students commute to college campuses to pursue their educational goals. It is estimated that 75 percent of students in 2015 attending a college or university do not live on campus, and included in the group are the sonography students. Commuter students are faced with a number of challenges, including how to make the most of the time spent traveling to-and-from campus. It does not have to be wasted time.
Education-Committed Commuter Students
Many of the ultrasound technician schools do not have dorms where students can live on campus. Most technical schools and community colleges are included in this group. Commuter students are those who attend college but do not live in a residence hall or other on-campus facility like a fraternity or sorority. They usually live at home or in off-campus rental housing or apartments. The students commute to school either by car or bus, or even train in places like New York City (check sonography schools in New York City or nearby).
Some people question whether commuter students are as committed to the educational process as non-commuters. That is a misconception in the belief commuter students are distracted by too many things outside of school, like meeting transportation needs, and are not as involved in campus life. However, sonography students enjoy an immersive educational experience whether commuting or living on campus.
By design, the ultrasound technology program is full-time, requires collaborative learning and also requires clinical training in a medical facility where students interact with other students and professionals. Most colleges and universities have exerted enormous effort to create an environment that is welcoming for all students while they are on campus. The schools have established commuter study lounges and hold student events to purposefully help commuter and non-commuter students interact.
Tips for Turning Commuting Time into Productive Time
The travel hours can quickly add up, turning into what seems like wasted time when time seems so precious. Attending college places a lot of time pressures on students due to the need to attend classes, do homework, participate in school sponsored activities and so on. A large portion of the sonography student’s time is also committed to clinical training, during which eight-hour periods of time are focused strictly on the events at the medical facility.
There are ways to turn travel time into productive time. Following is some advice for sonography students interested in enhancing commuting time.
When traveling by bus or train:
- Time is well spent studying
- Make use of smartphones – use the internet to study, record educational material, etc.
- Plan the next week’s schedule
- Make a to-do list
- Listen to prerecorded audio lectures or podcasts on sonography or lectures recorded in class
- Observe other people to develop a better concept of the rich diversity and behaviors the sonographer will likely experience on the job
- Take the opportunity to relax in preparation for another busy day or to unwind from the stress of the day just ended
- Use a laptop to do homework
If traveling by car:
- Listen to prerecorded educational material on CD
- Personally record CDs for the car that contain information, like terms and their definitions, or record subject matter that has been difficult to master; use the travel time to review the information
- Mentally prepare for the day’s activities, reviewing requirements and commitments
- Say out loud the course material studied the previous evening to reinforce learning
- Ask yourself questions about sonography and make a mental note of those that are not easily answered
- Record online sonography course video lectures on .mp3 and replay while commuting
If the commute is short enough, ride a bicycle or walk to campus instead of driving or using commercial transportation. This fits critical exercise time into a routine where there is not much free time.
These are just a few ideas for anyone who wants to become an ultrasound technician and must commute. The key is to think of terms of what can be done and not in terms of restrictions. Each student is responsible for doing whatever it takes to succeed.
Making the Most of Campus when it is Not Home
Once on campus, commuter sonography students should take advantage of the services and activities to enmesh themselves in the educational experience. Spend an extra hour on campus to participate in recreational activities or community service projects, attend campus events, or join student club meetings. Many colleges use ListServs to send commuter students messages and calendars of on-campus activities, and special commuter information. If available, join the ListServ to stay in the loop.
Enjoying the Experience
Commuting to campus does not have to be frustrating or wasted time. A little planning can go a long way towards turning the commute into productive time that enhances the educational experience. Diagnostic Medical Sonography students have full-time schedules consisting of coursework and clinical training. Every minute counts. Utilizing the commute time to reinforce learning can help relieve stress.