The truth about commuting

By: Brianna Male

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y.- Everyone experiences stressful situations throughout their life,  some more than others. There is a certain group of people that always seem on edge: college students. Typically, college students always seem tense and exhausted. They are taking multiple classes that often come with a hefty workload and a lot of times this can be overwhelming. To top all of this off, countless students commute to and from school daily, which alone can add more stress to a college student’s already busy life.

Commuting to school can prove to be a hefty task, even when the weather is good. When the weather takes a turn for the worse, it can put an additional strain on a commuting student.

Many commuters had to brace themselves for unfavorable conditions starting at the beginning of February. According to WKBW, Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 had less than ideal traveling conditions. Aaron Mentkowski from WKBW mentioned a “Winter Storm Watch for all of WNY from 6 p.m. Thursday through 6 a.m. Saturday. 4-12″+ of accumulation possible.” Commuters were warned about “Snow, sleet and freezing drizzle” from Mentkowski. When weather like this happens, commuting college students have to prepare for these conditions.

Local commuter Jessica Robertson said, “I brush off my car and use my key fob to start it while I’m in the house so I don’t have to get into a freezing cold car.”

Another commuter from Niagara University, Paige West, said, “I usually have to double my driving time because traffic is way worse when the roads are worse. That makes my mornings start earlier.”

“Sometimes I wish I could just get up out of bed and walk to my classes instead of having to worry about the drive,” said college commuter Emily Milleville. She added, “Parking in college is bad enough, but it is worse when the parking lots are barely plowed and you can’t see the lines.”

Commuting to school has many perks, but when the weather gets bad, it often creates an unfortunate scenario for students, adding additional stress on their plate. Despite this, a lot of times there is a common misconception that commuters have it easy because they have a car and can get around easily.

“I think dorming is more of an initial adjustment, but ultimately it’s easier because it’s easier to manage my time. I can literally roll out of bed and get to class within 10 minutes, and I save money on gas,” said Alyssa Gara, a current resident student.

An advantage of staying on campus is having a variety of resources at your hands that are in close walking distance. For example, there is a library on college campuses with multiple computers and printers available. Resident students also do not have to go very far to receive different services like tutoring, or even guidance from their professors. If you are a commuter, you would have to drive to campus for these resources.

Driving to a college campus can be challenging in itself, depending on how far the commuter lives, but parking in general, even when the weather is good, can be difficult.

“It probably takes me close to an hour to park in the morning,” said Nina Ligammari, a student at Buffalo State.

This adds more time to many commuters’ morning routines, like Ligammari. By having to factor in extra time for parking, this takes time away from things like sleep, a necessity for college students.

Many might argue commuters are also saving money by not dorming, but some college students beg to differ.

“Gas is a lot of money and, if you’re like me, you pay for gas, car insurance, car payments, and then other bills like a phone bill, credit card payments, groceries, pets, rent, etc,” said Haley Snyder, a commuting student.

There are a lot of expenses that get factored into both dorming and commuting. Neither one is cheap, to say the least. There are certainly different perks to both, and Ava Stubbe, a former resident student who later turned to commuting can attest to that.

Stubbe said, “I feel like your experiences truly depend on the school. Dorming was easier for me in the fact that I was allowed freedom and independence from my home life. I found that my living situation there, and the amount of money it cost would not be easier for me in the long run, emotionally and financially.”

commuting photo

Photo by osseous licensed under CC BY 2.0 

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