109 Commuting

Taylor Ratliff

When I was growing up I always thought that I would go away to a big university and stay in a dorm and be independent, but then when I became a senior in high school my decision changed very quickly once I realized how expensive it is to go to school.  Once I found UPIKE I realized it is exactly what I wanted in a university.  It has great classes, programs, staff, plus it was in driving distance from my house.  In the first few weeks of classes I realized the parking situation is rough, I have pay for gas every week, and I’m getting home late every night so how am I going to have time to do anything?  In my first semester here as a commuter I have come to figure out quite a few things along the way.  I recently done a survey, with the help of my professor and other staff members, on all commuter students at UPIKE and here is what they had to say about it.

Commuting can be a great thing, if you live 15 minutes or less away from the college.  I live 45 minutes away, and when making my decision I thought it wasn’t going to be that bad.  I recently done a survey with all the commuter students that go to UPIKE and 27% of them live 5-15 minutes away, 26% 16-30, and 25% 31-45.  I thought because I had my own job and was making my own money it would be a lot cheaper to just buy my own gas.  With commuting I had to stop working during the week and only work on the weekends.  This is only racking me at most $150 every two weeks, and $100 of it goes towards my gas money; I usually spend $50 every week on gas.  24% of students spend anywhere from $50-$60 every two weeks on gas traveling back and forth to campus, 16% spend $71-$90, and tied at 15% is less than $50 and more than $100.  A lot of students that commute have the option to either get a meal plan with the college cafeteria, they could just pay to eat in the café, or eat at one of the restaurants on campus.  I usually never pay to eat in the café because it is always either busy or I never have time to sit down and eat.  Referring to the survey, 21% spend $21-$30 every two weeks on food on campus, 31% says they don’t eat on campus, and 12% more than $50.

Now we have come to the biggest issue with commuter students across campus, and that is parking.  The parking building across the street is connected to the college by a walkway and it is very small, and you are likely to hit someone if you’re not careful.  In the first month and a half of school parking was the absolute worst.  You would have to go all the way to the main top to find a spot open, and sometimes there wasn’t any or there are people straddling the lines taking up two spaces.  When I asked the students how frequently they are late to class because they could not find parking 42% of them said they are late quite often, 28% said sometimes, 16% said seldom, and the other 14% said never.  It takes a while for me personally to find a spot and some it takes no time, so when I did the survey 19% said it takes them under five minutes, 61% said anywhere from 5-10 minutes, and 20% said more than 10 minutes.  I also asked them how difficult it is for them to find a spot and 44% said somewhat difficult, 39% said very difficult, 11% said there was none available, so they had to go elsewhere, and 6% said it was easy.  A couple of times I had to turn around in the garage and go somewhere else to park because of there being none.  I had to park at the Domino’s Pizza place and walk to campus and at the school’s gym and walk to campus.  Students have also been late to class due to accidents on the road, construction, or heavy traffic; 5% said they were late often, 30% sometimes, 43% seldom, and 22% never.  I was once late to my first class because of a wreck, and I sat in traffic for two hours and had just enough service to message a classmate to tell the teacher what had happened to me and where I was.  Thankfully my teacher was very understanding of my situation and didn’t count me as late, absent, deduct points, or worse not let me in since class had started.

I am a member of the marching band here at the university and we have practice three times a week during the fall semester on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  On Monday and Thursday, I also participate in the jazz band that they have so I am practicing from 4:30-9:00 on those days and I then must drive home and I am getting home at almost 10 at night leaving me with little time to shower, eat, and do homework to get a reasonable night’s sleep.  25% of students are getting home before 4:00 pm, 13% by 6:00 pm, and 40% by 8:00 or later.  In the morning I usually wake up an hour earlier than when I am supposed to leave to give me time to wake up and then lay in my bed for 30 minutes.  It usually takes me anywhere from 15-30 minutes to get ready depending on the day and how tired I am.  The survey states that 36% take 16-30 minutes to get ready, 28% 31-45 minutes, and 22% 5-15 minutes.

I never have a place to get studying done, yes, I do study at home, but I have a younger brother, my dad being very loud, and I have two cats that do not know the meaning of personal space.  I have been on the hunt for a place to study, however, I have not succeeded yet.  I get distracted easily when I try to study with my friends because we all have different classes this semester, so we all end up just talking to each other.  The library closes after 12:00 am, but my dad usually tells me to get home before 10 on weekdays and on Fridays I can be a little past 11, so the library is out of the question.  I have my car, but that’s not my ideal place to study especially since I would have to keep either the AC running, or the heat and I cannot afford that gas money.  Since I don’t live on campus my ID card doesn’t have access to the dorms so I can’t just walk in and knock on my friend’s door and study in their room.  The top three places for commuter students to study is 67% said they study at home, 49% said the library, and 29% said their car.  Some other answers where students say they study is the Admin Building, HPE sixth and second floor, Booth sixth floor, work study, or their apartment.  There are study rooms available on campus, and they are very nice, I have been in them a few times, but I can never find myself time anymore to go into one and study.  While I am waiting for one of my next classes it can be anywhere from an hour to four hours, so I usually will end up sitting in my car and I go get food, or I will see if my friends are out of class and we will all hang out before class.  54% of students said they will sit in their cars before their next class, 52% said they will go out and get food, and 50% said they go to the library.  Others put in their own answer that they go to the Esports arena, The Ace Office, HPE, some do work study, a family members work in town, the band lounge, or they never leave campus because they will not find a parking spot again if they leave.

Commuting can save you a lot of money in the long run, however, it can also really cost you too.  When you are deciding whether to commute to your college consider a couple of things and make an executive decision that would best benefit you, and your family if they are helping you.  I do have some regrets of commuting, but in the end, it has saved me and my family a lot of money.  Paying for gas every week is much easier on us than having to pay tuition plus room and board.  I also have my own job, so all the gas money is on me.  Commuting has also allowed me to stay with my family and keep in touch with my friends back home.  There may be some downsides to not having a room to study in all the time or being able to wake up 10 minutes before your class and still be on time, but I always think of the good things commuting has done for me too.

Page Break

How long does it take you to travel to campus (one way)?

5 minutes or less

11%

5-15 minutes

27%

16-30 minutes

26%

31-45 minutes

25%

46-60 minutes

7%

More than an hour

4%

How long does it take you to get ready for school?

5 minutes or less

1%

5-15 minutes

22%

16-30 minutes

36%

31-45 minutes

28%

46-60 minutes

6%

More than an hour

7%

How late are you getting home every night?

Earlier than 4:00 pm

25%

By 5:00 pm

12%

By 6:00 pm

13%

By 7:00 pm

10%

By 8:00 pm or later

40%

How frequently have you been late to class due to an accident on the road, construction work, or heavy traffic?

Often

5%

Sometimes

30%

Seldom

43%

Never

22%

On a day-to-day basis, how hard is it to find parking in the garage?

Easy

6%

Somewhat difficult

44%

Very difficult

39%

None were available so you had to go elsewhere

11%

How frequently have you been late to class due to there were no parking spaces available?

Often

42%

Sometimes

28%

Seldom

16%

Never

14%

On a day-to-day basis, how long does it take you to find a parking spot?

Under 5 minutes

19%

5-10 minutes

61%

More than 10 minutes

20%

Where do you go when you do not have another class for another hour or more (or because you are waiting to go to work or practice)?

My car

54%

On campus in a study room

33%

In a residence hall with a friend

11%

Student lounge

15%

Library

50%

Student Success Learning Lab

7%

Go out and get food

52%

Back home

35%

Other

13%

Where do you go to study?

My car

29%

On campus in a study room

27%

In a residence hall with a friend

4%

Student lounge

16%

Library

49%

Student Success Learning Lab

7%

Go out and get food

12%

Back home

67%

Other

9%

How much on average do you spend every two weeks on gas going back and forth to campus?

Less than $50

15%

$50-$60

24%

$61-$70

13%

$71-$90

16%

$91-$100

11%

More than $100

15%

I don’t pay for gas

6%

On average, about how much do you spend every two weeks on food while on campus?

Less than $10

11%

$10-$20

7%

$21-$30

21%

$31-$40

7%

$41-$50

11%

More than $50

12%

I don’t eat on campus

31%

 

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Commuting by Taylor Ratliff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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