Philadelphia — While scrolling through your TikTok feed, you may hear the classic song “9 to 5” by Sheena Easton. If you’ve heard it, you know it’s about a man who takes the train every day to and from work. The infamous 9-to-5 schedule we hear so often from our parents is something I never thought I would experience so early in my life.
Granted, I never thought I would have the opportunity to go to my dream school, Temple University (Go Owls!) and study broadcast journalism, but here we are. However, due to some unfortunate circumstances concerning my off-campus apartment, commuting to school became the only way for me to complete my collegiate education. Although my housing situation made attending school challenging, I found a way to persevere.
Lucky for me, I live remarkably close to my school and a train station is just a short 5-minute drive from my house. I never realized this, but the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States (Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware) is a hub for public transportation, specifically regional rail trains. It is arguable that we are spoiled by the amount of accessible transportation to and from Philadelphia as well as other cities throughout New Jersey and Delaware. Although the transit system I have described sounds great, there are a few downsides.
Commuting is a job in itself. For the fall semester of 2022, I had 17 credits and a 9-to-5 schedule. In order to make it to class on time, I needed to wake up by 5:30 a.m. and arrive at the train station by 7:15 a.m. On any given day, I would have two to three classes that were spaced throughout the morning and afternoon.
Perfect for someone who lives on campus.
Despite my plans of living on campus being foiled, I managed to make a home within my college of study’s hallways by utilizing the classrooms and seating when I needed a place to sit. This was nothing short of community couches and all the end tables one could ever need! In situations like this, creativity is key. My friends were also extremely supportive and would keep me company between classes. It was also comforting to see how many of my friends also commuted from local counties and we would occasionally walk to the train together. One of my friends even helped me create an in-between-class schedule to prevent any further burnout from waking up early every day.
My parents have also benefited from my new routine. They love having me back and home again. We also have started utilizing the train when we want to visit Philadelphia. It is an amazing way to protect the environment and most of the time it is faster than driving. Commuting has helped me become more responsible for my education and gain more independence. Although I would prefer to live on campus, taking the morning train has made me appreciate life at home and the comfort it brings. So next time you see a train going by, remember to wave!