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Three Everyday Struggles All Suburban Commuters Go Through

Photo by Stephy Miehle.

At UIC, some students live in the dorms. Others commute from somewhere in the city. And then there are those students (me included) that decide to make the bold choice of commuting from the suburbs, which in turn leads to some unique struggles. Here are a few of them.


Let’s face it, college can already be enough of a struggle in time-management, with all of us trying to find that balance between school/work/social life/sleep. For suburban commuters, we need to add in that time it takes to get to school, which, depending on whether we get the Metra or if we drive in, can take upwards of an hour. If misfortune strikes, and you end up stuck in traffic or a delayed train, expect to add another two hours to that initial hour—and maybe a missed class or two.


Nowadays, college is expensive. Usually, all extra money we get goes towards necessities (hello, Starbucks). However, commuters from outside of the city have to put all of that extra income towards transportation. Once we get into the city, we get to use our best friend, our Ventras, but before we hit Chicago’s limits, we either have to shell out $200 for a monthly Metra ticket or spend absurd amounts on gas money. Guess that Starbucks really can’t be used as a necessity after all…

Social Life

Yes, we all come to college to study, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun on the side, right? If you’re a suburban commuter, unless you’ve got a buddy who will let you crash at your place for the night, you’ve got to make plans on how to get home at midnight. And if you’re working in your hometown, forget about going to the city on the weekends, because you’ll be surrounded by work, work, work. Unless you really put in the effort—and if your last train doesn’t leave the station until 1am—then you can forget about having a social life.

Did I skip over a struggle that all of us suburban commuters go through? Or what about those of you who commute from close by? Do you have a problem that suburban commuters just wouldn’t understand? Sound off in the comments below!

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