Thinking off the grid

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By Jenn Czuba, Contributor

It’s your first semester at UNO and on a bigger campus. It might be intimidating, especially for those of us whose mode of mobility isn’t the usual two feet. For those who use wheels to get around, there is additional stress the first few weeks of college. But if you think creatively and try some unique routes, you might feel a bit more confident during your transition to university life.  
We have all navigated the overly crowded hall at one time or another, wishing there was another way. Well, now that you are on a college campus, you can avoid the main thoroughfare during busy hours.
Being a student “on wheels,” a scooter to be precise, I have picked up a trick or two. These tips can be helpful for any student, especially one who needs more accessibility.  

Explore buildings during free time When you have a little free time, take some time to get to know your campus inside and out. Go into each building and “snoop.” Locate the elevators, get to know the doors, halls, rooms. You never know when a class might be in a building that you have never been in.
 
Take the long way home Let’s say you have class at one end of campus and your next is at the other end.  If you can spare a few extra minutes, take the long way around the outskirts of the campus. Meaning, walk by the dorms and gym and cut up between Allwine Hall and the College of Public Affairs and Community Service. If you want to just take a stroll around the field, walk behind the HPER Building (Health Physical Education & Recreation) and meet up with the ramp that hugs the field then connects with the side walk by the garage. It’s nice once in a while to have a change of scenery.

Student Center can be your friend or foe Eating lunch at the Student Center can be a nightmare, especially on the first cold or rainy day of the semester. Get there before 11:30 a.m. or after 12:20 p.m. Usually, the rush is around the noon hour. If you’re lucky enough to get a table or a seat, congrats, but if not, just find another area in the student center where you can enjoy your lunch.  If you are coming from the west side of the campus or just fed up with the elevators in this building, just take the side door on the right, by the Strauss Performing Arts Center.   

Time management   Although this seems like a no-brainer, there are a few things that sneak up on someone who has to use certain doors and ramps. Schedule an extra minute or two into your passing time to get to class. Add at least five minutes if you have to use the elevator. You never know who is using it and what floor they are on or where they are getting off.

Book a room Let’s say you need to study in the library, and finding the right area with a power outlet isn’t quite working out. Book a study room. They usually have some available. Just go up to the desk and ask for one. They are rented out in hourly increments, but you can check out early if you just need a few minutes to catch up on some last minute cramming. At least you can find some space. If you need any extra help, just ask the staff.
What about the elevators? Sure, they should all be easily spotted, but usually not.  The library, for instance, has the main elevator hidden behind the gallery and another in the back by the café on the left. In Arts and Sciences Hall, there is an elevator toward the back of the building.

Being on campus can be a hassle.  But if you take the extra time to figure out routes and things that work out for you, it might be a little easier.  Don’t be intimated by the campus, get to know UNO and you can conquer the daunting task of college mobility. 

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