The life of a commuter at St. John’s University can be described as, “frustrating, time-consuming and expensive,” as put by senior hospitality management major Towhida Rahman, who has been commuting to St. John’s for four years.
In the effort to save up to $16,390 on room and board costs, many students at St. John’s, who live up to a two-hour commute radius, opt for commuting to campus rather than living on or near campus. Obviously in the long run, this helps greatly in the scheme of paying back loans. However, while still in school, commuting can be a very difficult and expensive daily, weekly and annual task.
After interviewing seven commuter students in different majors, years, schools and home towns, there were many similar responses. Five out of the seven drive to school, while one walks and the other takes a bus regularly.
Alongside their commutes is the never ending expense of either gas or metro cards. Per semester, the seven students averaged a spending of about $700 on their commute. Most of the cost came from gas prices. However, in the effort to make one’s commute easier, using a car is the best bet—especially if a student is working while in school.
Frank Zhao, a senior economics major said, “Commuting is only pleasant if you have the ability and wealth to own and maintain a car. Otherwise public transportation during rush hour is possibly the worst experience of all my four years here.”
In attempts to help students with the cost of their commutes, St. John’s is offering incoming commuting freshmen the Hugh L. Carey Scholarship which, “provides financial assistance to commuter students residing in the five boroughs of New York City,” according to the St. John’s website.
However, although St. John’s offers this, not one of the seven commuters interviewed have received this award. It is surprising that not a single one has gotten this, and yet some spend up to thousands on their commutes.
When asked how St. John’s could possibly help commuters with “the struggle of commuting,” many responded by asking for more parking and for St. John’s to help pay back costs of the commute.
Olivia Cunningham, a senior journalism major even suggested St. John’s to, “offer a designated lounge or room with a fridge and microwave where commuters could relax in between classes, like the honors program has the honors commons.” This would be a great way for commuters to interact on a regular basis and not only at the few commuter events held on campus each semester.
For junior advertising major Woorie Kim, her commute became even more difficult this semester because she, “usually liked riding the shuttle bus to the Kew Gardens subway station; however, the school longer provides it.” Rather than retracting one stop and adding another, the University simply removed that stop, adding difficulties to students’ commute.
Ultimately, arriving at school is always a sigh of relief. Whether they dodged an accident or ran to catch a train or bus, commuters always find a way to make it work. The life of a commuter may not be pleasant, easy or relaxing, but being a commuter lends itself to time management and skills that one can use outside of the university and later on in life.