You’ve done everything right. You got that tough assignment done and even put a little time into studying for that test next week. You also graciously let someone merge into your lane on the way to campus, so nothing could possibly step in the way of all of your good karma. However, you take a look at the clock—you’re running late, but should be alright if you find a good parking spot. But the lot’s full. Every lot seems to be full. You’re going to be late for your first class and the professor just so happens to start class with a pop quiz!!!
This situation might be the worst-case scenario, but just about every commuter student has some negative story that involves parking. Parking at MTSU is no glamorous activity, but parking at any other large university will be just as bad, if not worse.
According to MTSU Parking Services, there is actually a minimum of 500 empty on-campus parking spots at any given time. This means that spots are always there for you for any class at any time if you play your cards right.
There are ways to get ahead of the curve (or.. curb?), and possibly even get into some good habits while you’re at it. Let’s take a journey into making parking the least of your worries during your school day.
“Carpooling” is not a bad word
I know that a few questions popped into your head. “This is the best tip this guy has? Carpooling? What is this, 2009?” I get it. I really do. I’m not saying this will work for everyone, but sharing a ride with someone else to campus has multiple benefits. First of all, it’s always good to engage in conversation with someone to prepare your brain for the day. Second, you’ll probably be saving a good bit of money on gas. Finally, leaving the obvious one for the end, you have spared the use of at least one additional parking space.
Unless you live in the absolute middle of nowhere, you can likely find someone who lives near you with a somewhat similar schedule that wouldn’t mind carpooling to school with you. This is especially if you live in apartment complex or neighborhood filled with other students. You may even fill an entire car! If your schedules don’t match up exactly, use the extra time on campus to study, work on a homework assignment or catch up on the latest episode of your favorite podcast. If this eventually catches on, almost every student would be able to find a great parking spot!
Utilize the Raider Xpress
Most of the 500-plus available parking spots reside in the Rutherford Lot, with the Livestock Lot coming in a somewhat distant second. An interesting tidbit about those two lots: they are both serviced by the Raider Xpress, and both of the routes they’re on have stops wherever you need to get to. You may be opposed to taking a bus to class, but the school runs a very efficient system with very friendly drivers! It gives you a chance to sit down, visualize your day, and potentially interact with others around you. Before you know it, you’ll be dropped off right in front of where you need to be.
The most useful bus routes for you will likely be the Red and Blue lines, as they both have similar stops near the most frequented buildings. The biggest difference in regards to parking is that the Blue line stops at the Livestock Lot and the Red line stops at the Rutherford Lot. The Green line stays on the older side of campus and includes stops on the other side of Middle Tennessee Boulevard. Those lots are smaller and are usually full, and the route does not serve areas such as the Library, Student Union, or the Business and Aerospace Building.
You can use the MTSU mobile app to find the location of both parking lots and bus stops, and even track the location of every bus currently in service. Don’t worry, even if you just barely miss the bus, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be late to class. There are usually 2-3 other buses on the same route during class times and their positions are monitored to make sure they come at regular intervals. To learn more about this feature and others of the MT Mobile App, check out this article by former Student Voice writer Victoria Leuang.
Make the most out of your time on campus
The last piece of advice I have for avoiding parking stress is sure to make you cringe. Get to campus early. Don’t do it simply for better parking, though. Do it for a better you! As a student of MTSU, you have so many resources outside of the classroom to take advantage of. If you get to campus early, not only will you be able to get a good parking spot, but you can also get a workout in at the Campus Recreation Center, print off your notes at the Walker Library, and grab a coffee or some breakfast at the Student Union or Keathley University Center.
To make a long story short, if you get to campus with plenty of time before class, you can get into some very beneficial habits. MTSU can be more than a classroom with stressful parking for you, it can truly be your home.