My Commuting Experience

As I was filling out applications for colleges, I decided that I would be commuting to school. Looking back, this was an incredibly naive decision for someone who didn’t have a license or a car to commute. I had been putting off learning to drive since I was sixteen. Soon enough, it was the summer before college and I still didn’t know how to drive! But I had done the mental math, and I was adamant that commuting to and from school would be so much cheaper than dorming.

(Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash)

 

Since I would not be dorming and I didn’t know how to drive, I knew that I would have to rely on public transportation to get me to school and back home. For the first couple weeks of my college experience, I was taking the bus or train from my house to school. Not long after, my parents and I realized that this was too much to handle for a college student. My parents then decided to look for other options to get me to school. They would explain my situation to everyone they knew and eventually, they found someone they trusted to rent me a room for my first quarter as a college student. The house was 10 miles away from campus so I would still have to take public transportation to and from school every day, but I would not have to pay for the ride because I had a student discount. I didn’t mind taking public transportation, I had taken the bus since I was a kid, but I was in a new city and I didn’t know the dangers of being out late at night. During those night time bus rides, I always had my pepper spray ready and I would make sure my parents and my landlady had my location at all times. During my first quarter, my life and time were so consumed by taking public transportation that I had to study on bus rides and write essays on my phone because that was the only time I had to sit down. My grades during this quarter were not the greatest, but I was determined to find a way to get good grades and continue commuting.

(Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash)

 

Eventually, by the time I had to register for the winter quarter of my freshman year, I planned my classes so that I would only come to campus on certain days of the week. Because I had a more organized class schedule, I moved back home and talked to a friend who was also commuting. This allowed me to catch a ride with them to and from school. Going to school two days out of the week decreased my anxiety about public transportation, and I had more time to study because I did not have to constantly worry about the bus. However, because I was on campus two days of the week, I felt that I could not get involved in clubs or organizations because I would not make many of the events or meetings. Instead, I got a job in retail that worked perfectly with my schedule. 

Throughout my second year at school, I was learning how to drive and I got my license towards the end of the school year. I still didn’t know how to drive on the freeway though so I was still commuting with my friend. Once the school year ended, I  registered to take a session of summer school that started in late-July. By the time this session rolled around, I drove to school, only taking the streets. By the end of summer school, I took a leap of faith and finally got on the freeway. I had so much stress and anxiety being on the freeway for the first time that I got out after a couple of miles and continued taking the streets. Ultimately, I got more comfortable on the freeway and for my third year, I still had the same schedule and I would be commuting to school from home and back. 

(Photo by Kyle Gregory Devaras on Unsplash)

 

At the start of my fourth year, I decided that it was time for me to join a club or organization so that I could be more involved. While I am still a commuter, I joined Her Campus because it is such a fun and convenient organization. I am so much more comfortable in school and I am happy to be a part of an organization where young women can have a creative outlet in college.