COLUMN: Commuting causes stress

Nedda Pourahmady

Snuggled inside three layers of blankets, I cherish every moment in my cuddly cocoon. Then 6 a.m. rolls around, and I am suddenly awakened by a shrill voice blaring from the alarm clock. I reluctantly crawl out of bed as I cringe just thinking about the 35-minute drive that lies ahead of me.

We commuters have it tough. While most students living on campus are warm and cozy in their beds, the commuters are fumbling through their clothes and trying to get organized for the busy day ahead. Commuters don’t have the convenience of waking up 10 minutes before class. A commuter often deals with morning traffic, construction and stubborn stoplights.

Living off campus has several disadvantages. For one thing, commuters have to deal with unpredictable weather conditions. The icy, slick roads in the winter are treacherous obstacles commuters must battle. Additionally, construction creates chaotic conditions. Commuters constantly find themselves delayed by orange barrels, causing them to be late for class.

Commuters also find it hard to meet people on campus. Always on the go, they have to plan their time accordingly both on and off campus. Many commuters try to join organizations and participate in extracurricular activities, yet their schedules conflict with most of these special events.

As a commuter, I feel a bit excluded from the entire college community. I lived on campus during my first semester of college, and I wish I had chosen to remain on campus for the remainder of my college life.

During my first semester of college, I was extremely shy and reserved. I had a single room in Leebrick Hall where I could be found pretty much anytime during the day. I remember how the bathrooms disgusted me and the food made me nauseous. However, I will never forget the few good friends I made in the process. The more I spent time with them, the more I began to enjoy campus life.

Many times, I have several hours in between classes. As a commuter, I don’t have the option of going back to my dorm and snoozing. Instead, I wander aimlessly across campus or sit and stare at a computer screen, constantly re-checking e-mails or sending IMs to a friend. It would be so nice to have a place of my own on campus – a place where I could go back to after a hard day of classes and just relax.

As much as I hate commuting, I do understand that there are advantages associated with living off campus. In my case, I live with my parents. Therefore, I receive free food and free housing. My mom spoils me beyond belief, too. I come home and see my laundry has been neatly folded and tucked away in drawers. I don’t have to worry about keeping my room clean.

I furiously thrust the keys into the ignition. As I drive down state Route 43, I am greeted by orange barrels and construction workers.

“Another day of commuting,” I think to myself. I long for my cozy cocoon and prepare myself for the dreadful drive.

Nedda Pourahmady is a junior newspaper journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].