Major: Mathematics; Urban Education minor, Theatre Arts minor
Commuting From: South Central San Jose
Approx. Commute Time: 30-50 minutes depending on traffic
1. Describe a day in the life of a commuter.
Long! Early start, late finish–9:15am classes became 6am classes, to beat traffic (or be stuck in it), and I spent long nights in the library for not being able to focus on school work at home. I’d even bring toiletries and a change of clothes to the library sometimes.
2. What are the biggest pros and cons of commuting?
Biggest pro: Raiding my mom’s refrigerator when I got home; biggest con: never having a private space to myself on campus. I could go to friends’ places, find a spot under a tree or in the library or MCC or Benson, etc., crash on a couch, but anywhere I went was public. I couldn’t drive back and forth to my house during the day, so I had to eat all my meals at SCU, and sometimes I just wanted a place to eat myself and relax; I didn’t want to be ‘on’ all the time. Also, having limited freedom to shower at any time of day; having to stay presentable from start to finish when I’m on campus but not having a bedroom to stop in for a midday nap, quick change, meal, or shower.
3. How has commuting affected your involvement on and off-campus?
Commuting made socializing challenging–driving back and forth kept me away much of the weekend; outings happen spontaneously, so by not living near my friends I missed activities (dinners out, trips to the mall, park, Palo Alto, etc.) when they arose in the moment for the friends who lived on campus and could just pop over to each other and hop in a car and go.
4. What advice would you give new commuters?
Find clubs and activities on campus and build a close social circle; make a group of friends who live on campus, to have a dorm to go to, couch to crash on, bathroom to borrow, meal points to share. Get friendly, and get comfortable asking for what you want–don’t be shy about mooching (people have food, beds, and showers to share). Get as much sleep and water as possible to power through the day and to drive alertly.
5. What is your most memorable “commuter” moment?
Five of us commuters studied for a math final exam in the basement of O’Connor long into the night, noticed the time at 3:00am, and realized driving home and back for an early morning exam was not a feasible option. We collectively decided to stay in the Sussman to sleep. I didn’t claim the couch or a tabletop quickly enough, so I curled up under a desk in the corner of the room. I felt very cold that night, and didn’t sleep much, but the greatest part was the ‘next’ day when one of the professors, and later the department chair, arrived to open up the room and found us lying there, some of us still asleep!