My Life As A Commuter

My Life As A Commuter

For three days out of the week, I commute to the Dobbs Ferry campus for classes. Although I’ve traveled between campuses (Manhattan and Dobbs Ferry) for three years, only now has all the commuting taken a toll on me.

When I was accepted into Mercy, I met with my mentor to discuss my class schedule. All my classes were at the Manhattan campus. This was perfect because getting into the city was no problem. It took only half an hour. While I had classes at one campus, my mentor reminded me that it wouldn’t always be the case. The courses for my major are only offered in Dobbs Ferry so I would have to commute eventually. I was fully aware that I would have to travel to Dobbs Ferry to take all my media/journalism classes because I read it online ( I didn’t stress over having to commute because I figured it wouldn’t happen until another two semesters.

I was wrong.

For the second semester of my freshman year, I had to take classes in Dobbs Ferry. It was sooner than I expected or hoped for. I wanted to become more adjusted to college life and now I had to add commuting to another campus into the mix. I wasn’t too excited. Since I never traveled to the Dobbs Ferry campus, I asked other Mercy students who did what it was like.

Bad idea.

They made traveling to the Dobbs Ferry campus sound like Narnia: extremely far away and you had to battle the elements of nature to get to class. They mentioned deer roamed the area sometimes. Oh, so I would casually be walking and a deer would pop out of nowhere.

Absolutely fantastic.

I love animals but you can never be too sure how they respond to humans. I feared getting trampled or chased by one. Then, they told me the Metro North trains run every hour.

Since the students made going there sound like a nightmare, I called my mom to tell her all about it. My mom calmed me down. She reassured me that it wouldn’t take forever and a day to get there like the students made it seem. Since the trains run every hour, I would have to wake up earlier so I wouldn’t run late for class. If I planned ahead, I would be fine.

Before the current semester, the most I commuted to Dobbs was two days out of the week. I would go there on Mondays and Wednesdays. The day in between of not traveling there was great because I got to take it easy. I took my general education classes in the city.

Flash forward to the second semester of my junior year. I’m at the Dobbs Ferry campus for a majority of my week. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, I’m hiking up the ten minutes trail to reach the campus. I could always count on the trail to make me feel out of shape. I didn’t plan to be there three days out of the week. On the days I had the major classes, I added another class. Doubling up on the days when I was already in Dobbs was the best way to go. There was one more class that I had to take and it offered on a different day. So, that’s where the third day in Dobbs Ferry came in. I tried other possible class combinations but courses closed. I just had to stick this one out and wear comfortable shoes for all the traveling I had to do.

A typical “Going to Dobbs Ferry” day goes like this:

7:30a.m. – Wake up

8:02a.m. – Choose an outfit

8:21a.m.-Drink green tea (a must!)/watch Good Morning America (another must!)

8:34a.m.- Change my outfit

8:47a.m. – Out the door

Then, I hop on the subway train. Between the hours of 7:00a.m-9:00am, the train is packed because it’s rush hour. I dread it. Trains are crowded to capacity. People are standing back to back and breathing each other’s air. Personal space is non-existent. Even when the train are is full, people are still pushing and shoving to get in.

Next, I get on the Metro North.

It’s cleaner than subway trains and there’s more room to stretch my feet. But, there’s two problems in taking the Metro North as often as I do: the train schedule and ticket prices. Trains run every hour so if I’m running late by 10 seconds, I miss the train. Once, I did miss the train by a minute and I had to wait for another. There was a train that came 30 minutes after but it was an express train. It skipped a majority of the stops including mine, Ardsley on Hudson. It made no sense to take it because the closest I would get to campus would be getting off a stop earlier at Dobbs Ferry. It’s possible to walk from there to campus but I hear it’s a steep hill. Having to wait another hour is annoying. I buy tickets every two weeks. I purchase the 10-trip ticket because it’s more convenient. The ticket is already in my wallet and I don’t have to wait on line to purchase one. All my hard earned coins pretty much go towards transportation.

Total travel time: two hours.

When I get home, I’m exhausted. My feet and lower back hurt from walking so much during the day. The hustle and bustle of trying to catch trains on time is draining. There’s not much time for me unwind because I’m too tired to watch my favorite shows (DVR is my life). Then, the next day I repeat the process. I used to be able to travel to Dobbs Ferry without feeling so exhausted. But, I guess since it’s more frequently, my body is responding.

A lot of people have asked why I didn’t dorm in Dobbs Ferry. I’ve thought about dorming but it wouldn’t have worked out. I would have to take out loans. I didn’t want to have the burden of paying back thousands of dollars after graduation. Loans can take up to 10 years or more to pay back and that’s too long. I commend all the college graduates who took out loans to further their education but I couldn’t see myself doing the same. Also, I love the comfort of my own home and family (they’re annoying at times) and I would miss having them around. Knowing me, I would travel home every weekend and waste money because I was out of my dorm room so often.

My mind over matter attitude has been able to get me through commuting. I try to focus on the benefits of commuting to Dobbs Ferry. I’ve met some great people that I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t commute. The genuinely love all the classes that I take, especially writing for The Impact. It’s helping me to prepare for my future career as a journalist. Writing for the college newspaper has been one of the highlights of all four years.

Commuting three times a week is not the ideal situation but I do what I have to do. I see the bigger picture in all of this. The classes I take in Dobbs Ferry gets me one step closer to graduation day.

So, yes, it’s tiring.

Yes it’s expensive.

Yes, it’s a sacrifice.

But, yes it’s worth it.