Not Your Typical Commuting Story

Location: 
Manhattan
United States
US

Ah yes, the big C word, where do I even begin? I currently live in Hell’s Kitchen, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I too have experienced the dreadful Maria’s Tower before moving into my luxurious one-bedroom apartment that is nothing bigger than your very own closet. 

Once upon a time, there was a young freshman girl, living it up in New York City with her best friends in the whole wide world. They had planned on dorming at Beekman, and everything was set up and ready to go. They knew what their view looked like, they had decided who would buy the bathroom hand soap (me), and most importantly, they had argued about who had to get the top bunk. Everything was absolutely perfect, but this isn’t that kind of story where everything goes as planned. 

During that time, I was working at an acai bowl place and became very good friends with my manager Phoebe, who is originally from California. She was living in my new apartment with her cousin (now MY amazing roommate Brianna), but she desperately missed home and decided that it would be best to move back. One very fine day before moving back, she mentions that Brianna has been desperately looking for a roommate because Phoebe was moving back to California and ending her end of the lease early. I immediately thought to myself, I know everything is set up and ready to go, but I need a New York address for my dream internship.  It would also save me a lot of money by not dorming, so that is exactly how I ended up in Hell’s Kitchen ladies and gents. 

I really thought that it would be easy commuting, balancing school, work, the sorority, and finding time to be with my family and friends. But boy is it hard, and commuting just adds onto the plate of how terribly hard it is. I have to give credit to my OG commuters out there because I sincerely don’t understand how to do it. Adding on the extra minutes/hour to commute from school back home is a real job that requires serious planning, and God forbid you forget anything. Commuting to school is a nice experience, except for the fact that I truly don’t enjoy waking up early. Not only that, but I just love the overcrowded trains, smelling sweat, and invading everyone’s personal bubble at seven in the morning. As if things couldn’t get any worse, the best thing is realizing the trains aren’t coming. The train you anticipated is just not going to come, of course, there are delays, would it be Manhattan without a good delay? 

I can’t say it’s all bad, however. Taking the train and having no choice but doing the reading that you’ve (I’ve) been avoiding, and taking the time to listen to the new Lana Del Rey album. As well as seeing sights, free front row performances and concerts by Manhattan’s talented inhabitants. Getting up early and seeing the sunrise, feeling like by getting up early I am getting a head start to my day. Having enough time to go to the caf and eat, and get a head start on my homework that will be due soon, all of these things is what makes commuting great, that I never had the chance to even do when I lived on campus. 

With the start of the semester, I realized, however, that some things did change. I began to see less of my friends, (REACH OUT TO YOUR COMMUTER FRIENDS, MAKE THE EFFORT TO SEE THEM), less of my boyfriend, less of my free time, and as much as I love my small apartment (that I pay too much for), I began to see less of it too. Working two jobs, going to school, not living on campus, trying to make time to go to the gym, as well as never seeing my family. All of this just became a blur and very hard to handle. But the more time I spent at the dorms, the more I realized how much I loved to commute. 

So here we are, mid- September, and in the full swing of things, and I have found that my apartment provides something that dorms just don’t. It took time to realize that in such a small space, I am given so much freedom and so much room to grow. I am able to get my daily dose of New York’s not-so-fresh air, I am able to absorb the news on the train and catch up on some reading, I can listen to music and get an early start on my day, I am able to see all of Manhattan’s talent, and I am eternally grateful.