I’ve been commuting to university since my freshman year. I know the schedule of every bus with my destination options, how long it takes me to sprint from one bus stop to another, and the nearest parking lots in case I’m driving. Though sometimes a bit frustrating, commuting has more positive aspects, and it’s definitely a huge influence on my college experience.
For me, living close to campus was never really an option, so I’ve had to settle on living at home and driving or taking the bus to school every morning. It’s really not as bad as everyone thinks it is, at least for me. I try to think of every bus ride as a tiny, 40-minute adventure and find something special, funny or worthy of telling others about on every commute.Let me tell you, things can get super crazy on the bus – one time this couple with twins and a ginormous stroller couldn’t get on the bus, and their babies were crying (of course). So all the riders were entertaining the twins for as long as they could – as long as the babies didn’t cry.
After a few months, I’ve started seeing familiar faces, and a simple smile from them, acknowledging my familiar face, brightens up my day. Knowing that there are other students like me, who take more than an hour to get to school, somehow calms me down and makes things more bearable.
My best friend on the bus is a thermos (not a phone! It’s my new thing. I try to actually look at what’s happening around me). It’s a bit dorky, I agree, but on a cold winter morning, nothing warms me up better than a hot cup of tea! This is my worst nightmare right here:
I’ve never really biked to the university – in my case it seems impractical. Also, I’m not in a good enough physical shape to bike 20 miles. But this is how I picture the moment I leave my house on a bike:
In terms of the ‘college experience’ aspect, I think commuting has a rather big influence on it. It’s difficult to stay on campus later in the evenings to hang out with people or waking up 3 hours before class so I can leave early enough to not hit traffic and be a little early for class. However, everything is manageable if you want to make it manageable. You can make friends in classes and join clubs, arrange earlier study sessions and make special appointments with professors that fit your needs. It may take a little more effort for us than for those who live on campus, but it is possible.
I must say, I don’t really regret commuting – there are too many things I have left near home. It’s a personal choice that every college student gets to make at one point or another, and whatever that choice is, try to look on the bright side of things to get the best experience possible.