If you live far away from your nursing school campus, setting up a carpool program can be a great way to save gas, reduce wear on your car and get a little extra studying in on the way to school with a study buddy. It's also a great way to spend the long drive and allows you to use the HOV lane and possibly get premium parking benefits. Also, don't forget it reduces your carbon footprint from emissions! However, for it to work well, you will need to plan ahead and avoid the inconveniences that can result from sharing transportation.
Do: Find Someone Who Lives Close
This is a no-brainer. If you want to carpool with someone, make sure they live nearby — or at least on the way to school. If you want to meet somewhere and pile into one car, then make it a place that is equidistant from all parties.
Don't: Carpool with Someone Unreliable
While there may not be many flaky folks in nursing school, there will always be outliers that you don't want to rely on to pick you up. Ideally, you will want someone who is reliable, attends school regularly, is ready on-time, and communicates quickly if there is a problem.
Do: Find Someone with a Similar Schedule
If a fellow student lives close but has to rush to work downtown right after class, that may not work for your carpool. Make sure that you declare any time constraints up front to avoid any unnecessary conflicts.
Do: Decide Who Will Drive and When
Will you alternate weeks, or will you take turns every day? Will one person drive all the time and the other person will pay them gas money? You should decide what would work best for everyone.
Also, if one student has a hybrid, and another a two-ton diesel truck, it makes more sense for the hybrid driver to do most of the driving so that you can avoid the high gas demand of a larger vehicle.
That being said, don't forget that a long drive can quickly become uncomfortable in a tiny two-door coupe for back seat riders.
Don't: Forget to Make a Backup Plan
Cars break down. People get sick. Traffic gets backed up. Have a backup plan in place if the driver can't make it. Losing one day of nursing school
can be very significant, and if all of your study buddies miss it too, then it can be even harder to catch up.
Do: Be Prepared for Change
Nursing school means you will be going to different clinical sites nearly every semester. Your schedule will change — as will the places you will go. Be flexible and consider making changes to your plans if carpooling just isn't working.
A carpool can save you money, shorten your commute, and make your drive more pleasant. So, network with your fellow nursing students and see who would be interested in sharing the drive; it will be to everyone's benefit to do so!
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