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Become a parking expert in 3 easy steps

With the first month of the semester winding down, students are finally beginning to experience the end of the parking frenzy that comes during the first few weeks of school.

However, unless you play the game strategically, even with less students showing up to school on a daily basis parking will still be a struggle if you are part of the large population of students that drive their own cars to school.

It took me years and hundreds of laps in the various parking lots frustratedly hunting for a spot to gain some wisdom. Here are some tips that soften the blow of looking for parking when it’s not as plentiful as you would like it to be.

  1. Strategically plan your arrival to campus.

Is it the safer option to arrive to school at least a half an hour early to secure a spot and make sure you arrive to class on time? Sure. But with consideration to simple strategy, your parking woes could be solved in far less time.

Most classes on campus get out at the 30, 50 or 60 minute mark of an hour. In about five minutes from that time, it’s safe to expect a mass exodus of students making the trek back to their cars and at least one of them is going to give up their spot in a timely manner.

This is honestly the quickest and most painless way to secure a spot without the headache.

Though if you choose to go that route, the next tip is for you.

  1. Don’t slow-follow people to their spots.

We’ve all been on both sides of this coin. We have been the driver creeping alongside someone at under 5 mph in hopes that they’re walking toward their car. We have also experienced being the person anxiously walking to their car and being followed – only to crush the driver’s dreams by weaving in and out of aisles and misleading them to believe the spot they thought was theirs is much farther than they originally thought.

This method of parking is a tremendous waste of time if it does not work out in your favor. It does nothing but induce weird panic in not only the driver, but the innocent pedestrian walking back to the parking lot.

  1. Take advantage of every lot on campus whenever you can.

It is a little-known fact that the parking lot off of Shaw and Cedar avenues is rarely full throughout the day and provides a consistent parking experience almost every time. Another parking lot that’s a safe bet is the Save Mart Center parking lot, with the added bonus of the Bulldog Express to transport you to the opposite side of campus – if that’s where you need to be.

Another little-known fact amongst students is that staff parking lots are open to everyone after 6 p.m. With this tip, you kill two birds with one stone. You save yourself a scary late-night walk back to a far-off student parking lot, and have the comfort of knowing staff lots stay fairly available for parking throughout the evenings.

While on most days parking can make us feel like crying or tearing our hair out, it doesn’t always have to be that way. With this advice and valuable experience, we can all become parking lot pros.