Let’s be real: going back and forth from your house to school every day is a journey. Your friends who live in the dorms try to sympathize, but there are just some things that they will never understand. Then there are others who hear that you are a commuter, and wonder how you’re able to do it. Honestly, after three years of being a commuter, I’ve learned some pretty valuable skills and I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything.
1. Living Your Life on a Schedule
Ever overhear someone say how he or she jumped out of bed 10 minutes before class, took their time walking across the street and still made it on time? You probably instantly get a bitter feeling because you think of how early you had to be up that morning. Waking up two or three hours before class actually starts so you just have enough time to get ready, go to the train station, and having the time to complete that hour-long commute that you do, sucks.
On the other hand, adjusting my life to the times of trains taught me how to be really organized. When the schedules are almost always the same from year to year, it’s easy to plan out your day and be productive. You always know when and where you’re going to be at all times.
2. “Signal trouble”, “Train Traffic”, “Delays/Cancellations due to Police Activity
These are some of the phrases that my fellow commuters and I know all too well. You have your day mapped out to the point where you know exactly what train you can get on to be right on time. Then, without even realizing, you feel the train slow down. A few moments later, you hear the conductor make one of these announcements over the speakers.
When you commute, the smallest delay makes a huge difference. It can determine if you make your connection on time or just miss it, causing you to be even later than expected. The annoyance is agonizing, but I have to admit that it has taught me to be more of a patient, “go with the flow” type of person. The conductor can’t control what’s ahead of them, and neither can you. So instead of wasting your energy being angry, you find ways to entertain yourself and be calm about the situation. When you finally do move, it’s the greatest thing in the world.
3. F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out)
As a commuter, you don’t get to have the “normal” college experience. From the different events late at night, to having your best friends being only down the hall, you feel afraid that you’re missing out on some really fun things and on meeting great people.
Eventually, you realize that missing these activities doesn’t make that much of a difference in the long run. You learn that you just have to try a little harder for the things you want to do, to get the most out of your college experience. Plus if you’re lucky like I am, you will find your group of people who understand your commuting troubles but will always be there for you, even if you can’t be with them as often as you would like. Also who doesn’t love open invitations to sleeping over at the drop of a hat?!
Commuter life is stressful but think of it this way; you get the best of both worlds. You have the life of a college student, but at the end of the day you get to come home to your own bed in your own room.