Top 10 Ways to Get to Class Fast at UMD

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Your heart sinks when you look at the clock and see it’s 9:59 a.m. Even if you magically hit every green light on Route 1 you will show up at least 10 minutes late. That is, if you find a parking spot at all. You hope for spots on the 4th floor of the Regents Garage. Most likely you’ll park on the roof. Once you park your car, you’ll break into a sprint to get to class. Then you’ll walk into class noticeably late, sweating profusely. If only you planned ahead to get that perfect parking spot at the University of Maryland.

Need to get to class fast? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Check out 10 ways to get around UMD parking.

1. Guarantee your parking spot with OCP & SpotHero

Reserve a parking space in advance with Off Campus Parking (OCP) and SpotHero. You’ll never waste time again zigzagging through Lot 1. If you need a last-minute spot because you’re running late on your way to class or you simply want to park for a class or grab a bite to eat or even secure parking for the full month, you’ll find all the options and pricing on the SpotHero app.

“SpotHero makes it easy to find affordable daily and monthly parking, without having to pay on-campus rates. You can find, compare and book parking spots all in one place on SpotHero,” said SpotHero Marketing Communications Manager Andrea De Vos. That way, the perfect UMD parking spot will wait for you whether you arrive with 15 or 5 minutes to spare before class.

“Students who have an Off Campus Parking monthly parking pass get free daily parking in other Off Campus Parking lots when there are spaces available,” said De Vos. That’s a parking perk that DOTS definitely won’t give you. Off Campus Parking features multiple lots surrounding the campus so you can get to every building with ease including the Xfinity Center for Maryland games. Go Terps!

2. Wake up early

Excel at adult-ing with an early start to your day. “Waking up early and getting to class on time is the only way to start a successful and effective day. I like to wake up early, eat breakfast and drink coffee before showing up to class,” said UMD senior Matthew Swetz. Heading to campus early will give you enough time to find a sweet spot for your car near your classes and scroll through Instagram before buckling down to take lecture notes. Reward yourself for your early rise by getting a Starbucks latte and breakfast sandwich.

3. Prepare your breakfast at night

Not a morning person? Don’t risk missing out on breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Instead, prep at night to simplify your morning routine. Buy bulk granola bars or cereal packs from Costco and keep them in your backpack. “I pack my backpack and granola the night before… I just wake up, brush teeth and [wash] face, do quick makeup and head out the door,” said UMD sophomore Natalia Jamro. When you run from morning classes to meetings then a cappella rehearsal, the gym or the library, three meals a day seems totally out of reach. Sneak in at least two and a half meals by stocking your bag with breakfast snacks.

4. Cue the dry shampoo

“Invest in dry shampoo and avoid showering,” said UMD sophomore Julia Hall. Instead of taking a shower in the morning, spraying your hair with a little bit of shampoo gives you that clean look without adding time to your morning routine. Sleep deprivation makes showering feel like a waste of time. Don’t pretend you’ve never forgotten about bathing during finals or smelled yourself halfway through the day and realized you never put on deodorant. For the crazed college student: Use dry shampoo. You look like you care about hygiene, you sneak in that extra sleep, AND you still make it to class on time.

5. Razor scooter to class

No car? Scoot instead. Dig up your Razor Scooter from middle school. This could give you an extra five minutes to hit the snooze button. “I find that using my scooter allows me to get to class fast when I have little time or sleep in too much,” said UMD senior David Niezelski. Sitting in traffic around Stamp feels like a nightmare so don’t bother. Ride your scooter for more low-key transportation. You can fold the scooter up and carry it into the classroom—talk about portable.

6. Get basic

Our parents told us to organize our room a million times. Maybe now we’ll listen. Think about your clothing choice. Collect basic pieces that match with anything, like sweaters, t-shirts and your favorite sneakers. Then follow Hall’s advice (#4): “Pick your clothes out the night before.” This prevents the mad morning rush of throwing every item of clothing on the floor looking for that one awesome sweatshirt. Spend less time picking out your outfit and more time driving to campus. Besides, no one pays attention to your clothes during class when your physics professor drones on about black holes.

7. Bike Share on Zagster

If you don’t have a car or a scooter, check out UMD’s bike share program, Zagster. It has stationed bikes all over campus and on Route 1. Download the Zagster app and approach a bike station. Then follow the app’s instructions. “If I have a class that’s far away, I’ll use the Zagster Bike Share to cut my commute time in half to get there fast. It’s easy, convenient, and the first 30 minutes of every ride are free,” said UMD senior Erich Meissner.

8. Wear your clothes to bed

Do you find yourself forgetting to brush your teeth? Or maybe you can’t seem to remember if you wore a certain shirt to school the past two days… Wear your clothes to bed to save time. Hop out of bed, grab your backpack and head to campus. It takes zero minutes to get ready. Thank goodness sweatpants = pants in college. No one will know you slept in your clothes. Pro tip: Wear cotton basics to avoid waking up with wrinkles. Anything with linen will crumple up into a pile of wrinkles and give away your pajama trick.

9. Register for parking as soon as it opens

umd parking garage

Photo by Ally Tobler

As a Terp, scoring a parking pass means sitting on a waitlist until a pass becomes available. Sign up for parking by the deadline. If you make it to the waitlist you probably won’t get off of it either.

Similarly, don’t forget to register for spring parking if you only register for fall parking in August. Take advantage of parking seniority, too. Students with more credits get priority for parking lot choice. Put those credits to use and strut into Mowatt looking like a badass your senior year. And if you didn’t get the spot you needed, see #1 for Off Campus Parking and SpotHero options.

10. Drive the speed limit

Think again if you think speeding down College Ave will save you from showing up to class late. The ever-watchful campus police will ticket you, adding 10–15 more minutes to your morning commute (and probably a hefty ticket). If you really need to get to campus quick, leave at a time to avoid popular walking-to-class times. Avoid driving on campus right before each hour and at 2:15 p.m. Come to campus early in the morning. Or at least leave a couple of minutes earlier so you don’t accidentally run over your classmates.

Most importantly, don’t risk a $75 ticket from DOTS. Keep your wallet safe with Off Campus Parking (OCP), the most flexible and convenient parking option. Where can you park with OCP?

  • Old Plato’s dinner site
  • Quality Inn lot
  • Bagels n Grinds behind the Hotel at The University of Maryland “The Big Flat Lot”
  • 4350 Knox Road lot
  • 8400 next to The View
  • Norwich Road, site of the old Sigma Chi

Go to SpotHero and book your spot to make driving to UMD a lot easier.

Kira Barrett is a sophomore at the University of Maryland- College Park studying Broadcast Journalism. Most likely, she has no idea where her keys are and has $0 dollars in her bank account, but that’s just because she likes to live life on the edge.

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