Whether students enjoy a daily drive down Highway 12 or simply exit their residence halls to stroll to class, commuting is a part of every college student's morning and Mississippi State University offers several ways to go from home to campus and back again.
Walking is an easy solution for those fortunate enough to live on campus or within a reasonable distance from campus. Although North and South Zone residents with cars still have to pay for a parking decal, all traffic can be avoided if one leaves their car parked for the day.
Biking is another popular method of transportation. While considerably faster than walking, bikers must take extra care in weaving around pedestrians and hopping off for crosswalks.
Shanika Musser, a junior civil engineering major, said she believes biking is by far the superior way to commute and offers many benefits.
"When all the cars are backed up at a light or stop sign, I can zip past them all on the side," Musser said. "I can park right next to my destination and don't have to worry about finding a parking spot, and I don't have to pay for a parking pass."
Longboarding and skateboarding are other options for pedestrians. Beyond the wide turn radius, both types of boards are smaller and easier to maneuver through crowds than a bike.
Longboarding and skateboarding also have the added benefit of a leg workout in considering the repeated motion of pushing off the ground.
Commuting by car is undoubtedly one of the more popular modes of transportation at MSU, judging by the state of every parking lot bright and early each morning. The fight for commuter parking spots is infamous across campus and is only worsened when one does not have morning classes.
Claire Cross, a junior biomedical engineering major, drives to campus every day despite the controversy. She even believes Highway 12 is not as bad as it seems.
"I always just go down Highway 12. People say to avoid it, but it's not bad in the mornings," Cross said. "If I time it just right and leave around 7:20 a.m., I hit the sweet spot and get all the green lights."
Mopeds and motorcycles provide another method of commuting. The small size of the motorcycle allows for it to fit in places more easily. Almost every driver on campus knows the disappointment of spotting what appears to be an empty space, only to come face-to-face with a motorcycle. Motorcyclists should keep in mind that motorcycles parked on campus are required to display the proper decal for the commuter lot of choice.
Carpooling is an energy-saving and affordable way to get to classes each day if a student has friends with similar schedules or collaborative roommates. A schedule could be devised to save the same person from driving every day, or gas money can be offered for extra incentive.
Company can also make the traffic more bearable if the carpool group is trying to leave during heavily trafficked times of the day.
Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit (also known as SMART) buses are also available for transportation to and from campus. Bus stops are scattered across campus, and bus routes can easily be tracked with the Double Map app or browser search.
SMART buses are ADA-accessible and free to use. The buses also travel to areas of limited parking, like the Wise Center and Greek houses.
Meredith Maynard, a sophomore culinology major, claims the SMART bus is the most convenient way to get to class from her apartment.
"I like taking the SMART bus to campus because it's a very convenient means of transportation to and from campus and my apartment," Maynard said. "All the bus drivers are friendly and will wait a second if I'm rushing to catch it."
As a last resort, students can also call an Uber or Lyft. While calling a personal chauffeur may sound like a luxurious way to commute to class, it is wise to consider that this method is one of the more expensive ways to transport oneself.
Uber or Lyft can be a saving grace to someone whose car has suddenly broken down or was kicked out of the carpool group. Most students might just take it as a sign that attending class is out of the question that day, though.
Every MSU student has his or her own opinions about the best way to get to campus safely, quickly and punctually. No matter which mode of transportation reigns supreme, MSU President Mark E. Keenum would be proud of the efforts made every day to follow his famous advice: "Go to class."