True Life: I commute to Canisius

By Amanda Weber

Features Contributor

Although it may initially seem rare, those who commute to Canisius are not as uncommon as one might believe. When I made the decision to transfer to Canisius last semester, I had to decide whether to live at home or jump back into the dorming scene. After remembering the struggles of communal bathrooms during freshman year, I decided that a break was needed. Although the idea of living with your parents may seem a tad embarrassing, the idea of not having to pay for dorming definitely isn’t. While dorming may be right for some, commuting may be right for others. However, just because it is the best fit, this doesn’t mean that those who commute don’t pose the question: “Why didn’t I just dorm?”

Even though commuting isn’t too crazy of an idea, people don’t seem to know too much about it at Canisius. When I reveal my status as a commuter, the first response I always get is, “You must live really close in order to drive here.” The answer to that question, sadly, is no. My house is located on the border of Hamburg and Orchard Park. If you don’t know where that is, it is in the Southtowns. If you don’t know what the Southtowns are, this is the area that got seven feet of lake effect snow during “Snowvember.” In order to detail the struggle, it is important to note that the 30 to 35 minute drive from my house to Canisius involves four major roadways. After taking Route 219 to the I-90 to the NY Route 33 to the NY Route 198 to the Main Street Exit, you think the treacherous journey is finally over. However, you get to deal with Canisius College’s legendary parking ramp next. For those who commute, the parking ramp may not be your best friend. If we are being honest, the parking ramp is hated and feared by all. The physical structure of the parking ramp is deteriorating while the people that park there often display an inability to park within the yellow lines. Although I have only been here for a little over one semester, there have been countless occasions where one last parking spot is open. After mentally cheering that you won’t be late to your first class, you discover that the car parked over the line and did not leave room for your car. Thankfully, my small Chevy Cobalt can squeeze into some of those tight spaces. Some unfortunate commuters, like fellow Features Contributor and friend, Becca Hartman, struggle finding a space for their larger vehicles. The lesson here is that all who park in the ramp should be mindful and aware of how they park their cars. In other words, please learn how to park.

The second question people usually have is: “If you don’t live close, how do you manage to wake up and get ready every day?” The answer to this question is: “The struggle is real.” When I went to SUNY Geneseo my freshman year, my dorm was about a five minute walk from all of my classes. Therefore, coming from an all-girls Catholic school where nobody cared how you looked, waking up exactly 10 minutes before my first class was my idea of a successful morning. However, I learned very quickly that getting to Canisius on time meant I had to tack on time to wake up, start my car, get ready, drive 35 minutes, and find a parking space. Some advice to fellow commuters, if you want to look better than I do every day, is to make sure you set a few alarms on your phone in order to wake up on time. Also, if you have to drive to Canisius on the thruway for an 8:30 a.m. class, you will probably get stuck in rush hour traffic. If you can, try to schedule your classes a little later to avoid this issue. Finally, don’t let the commute stress you out too much. Although it can be a hassle, the drive is never as bad as you dread it will be in the morning and there are numerous benefits that come with commuting.

In addition to the negatives, there are benefits and positive aspects to commuting. One benefit is the walkway between the parking ramp and Science Hall. This allows commuters to escape the freezing temperatures and snow for at least a little while. Another positive is how commuters can relate to each other and stick together. It’s pretty easy to bond with someone over your shared hatred for the parking ramp. You can’t help but internally scream with agreement when the girl in your public speaking class says she would fix and expand the parking ramp if she had one million dollars.

Another benefit of commuting: getting to see your pets. For anyone who dorms and misses their pets, I apologize. I know that you struggle when you see someone post a cute photo with his or her dog and it makes you miss yours. Finally, what makes commuting all worth it for me is family.  I can only hope that where you call home, even if it is a dorm room, is a sanctuary. When I am upset, I instantly feel better as soon as I walk through those doors and see my family. If I get a bad grade on a test or I have three papers to write for the week, I know that I have a place to get away and a little brother who will always love me, no matter what grade-point-average my transcript has on it. Even though college is a time to learn and get a great education, it is also a time to have fun and relax before the “real world” rears its ugly head. So, I am going to spend my college years with the people I love most. Although the daily struggles continue, being able to end every day surrounded by those I love most is a wonderful thing.

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