10 things only UCLA commuters will understand

Spending all your money on coffee

There are around 59,000 commuters at UCLA, and whether you are commuting from home or a faraway apartment, you are bound to have experienced both the struggles and the perks of commuting. From living out of your car to enjoying home-cooked meals, we know exactly what it’s like when UCLA is your home away from home.

Figuring out your parking situation

Not only do you have to be aware of the parking permit application deadline for every quarter that is around $250, but there is also the possibility of not being given parking even after you apply. Then, you will have to pay $12 a day, or look for a rare empty parking spot near the apartments in Westwood.

Your car is your second home

Your car will have: at least two jackets, snacks in case there’s an accident on the 405 or you don’t want to buy food on campus, multiple coffee cups, a pillow to use if you have a gap between your classes or it’s Week 10, a change of clothes if you want to work out in the campus gym, and a collection of books for your back-to-back classes.


“Is it okay if I honk twice because my car hasn’t moved in the past 10 minutes?” As commuters, we have to work our schedule around rush hour. You learn to be an aggressive driver among the agitated people on the road. On the bright side, you become a professional at jamming to the latest songs on the radio, and you discover the fastest routes to campus to avoid being late to class. You get excited when gas is cheap. You instantly bond when you meet other commuters about the how much the struggle is real.

It’s hard to join clubs or partake in UCLA’s nightlife

Most clubs, Greek life meetings and events near Westwood begin at 7pm or 8pm, and being a part of them is inconvenient for your drive back home. You try to attend the first couple of meetings, but by Week 4, you’re tired after a long day, and you just want to go home. As a result, sometimes you feel like you aren’t partaking in the full UCLA experience.

You’re spending all your money on food and coffee

Even if you commit to bringing food to campus with you, you don’t always have time to prepare a meal, so you buy at least a snack whenever you’re on campus. You also buy coffee to, from, and on campus, because coffee is life (duh) and you need the caffeine to stay alert. You contemplate whether you should buy a salad for $8, or a Taco Bell for $4: to be healthy, or to be economic? That is the question.

But it’s okay, because you save money on rent

You don’t have to worry about paying at least $600 a month to live near campus or in dorms. You get to sleep in your own room, instead of sharing a double or triple with other people and accommodating their needs to avoid misunderstandings.

You’ll never say, “I’m so tired of eating pasta!”

Commuters who live at home are privileged with our mom’s delicious food, every day. You don’t have to go grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s every other week, think about whether buying the $2.49 or the $4.99 tomato sauce is better, or what the difference between lean meat and the regular meat is.

You’re an adult, but just a pampered one

Living at home is comforting, and you don’t feel like you are completely on your own. If your car needs a new tire, your dad is there to change it for you. If you’re craving your favorite meal, or simply need some motherly love, your mom is in the other room. Your parents are aware of your schedule, or if you have an exam coming up, and they offer their unrelenting support and good luck.

“So, have you made friends at UCLA?”

Well, the good news is that you stay in contact with your high school friends because you live close to them, and you don’t miss out on your usual outings, and comforting conversations. However, making close friends at university is hard for you because you can only hang out with them when you’re on campus.

But it’s all worth it in the end

You realize that being at UCLA is a blessing in itself, and that it is okay to miss out on a couple of things on campus because you’re benefiting in other aspects. It’s the best of both worlds! You eventually get used to commuting, and you make time for the events and people that matter to you. You understand that you are a true Bruin no matter how close or far you are from campus.