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April 13, 2015

The commuter struggle

Part 1 of a 2 part series

By Reese Shebel

There is a feeling of anxious irritability that overcomes a student who is forced to deal with unintended circumstances that come with a daily commute to campus.

Time begins to move much faster and the feeling of helpless urgency taunts them.

For Kevin Moran, this feeling was caused by a delayed train ride on his way to school.

The train was his simple and efficient solution to keep the cost of his travel down, but when it stopped for 15 minutes with no announcement, it caused Moran to panic.

“It made me about 20 minutes late to class with no real explanation for my professor,” Moran said.

Moran is one of many commuters who must endure the unfortunate consequences of living off campus.
With unexpected incidents like a delayed train, the biggest issues that commuters face often differ from those of residential students.

Even students who avoid public transportation agree that the transit itself is the most difficult part of being a commuter.

Ben Heacoax drives to school each day, but struggles with a different aspect of his ride to Cleveland State.

“Driving downtown, I risk my life every single day,” Heacoax said. “The traffic is terrible and the people are crazy.”

Heacoax explained that the commute is worse in the winter.

“Even if there’s just a centimeter of snow on the ground, everybody drives super slow,” Heacoax said. “It used to make me late to my class in the morning.”

Reserving a cushion of time for unpredictable traffic problems or accidents, he now leaves an hour before his first class to ensure that he isn’t late, Heacoax said.

So the next time a student like Moran comes running 20 minutes late through the door of his class, don’t be quick to assume he overslept.

Although driving is one of the more pertinent issues of being so far from school, Heacox explains that there are other things that alter the traditional college experience for commuters.

“It’s hard to get plugged in to the fun stuff,” Heacoax said. “I never know if there’s a frat party, and if I do, it’ll be over by the time I get there.”

Even though Heacoax doesn’t struggle with meeting people and getting involved on campus, the friendships he makes at school can be hard to maintain.

“I’m a sociable person, but it’s hard to build strong relationships with people because I live so far from them,” Heacoax said. “Plus they already have their group of friends they constantly hang out with.”

The inevitable hardships that come from a seemingly simple drive to school are shared by many of Cleveland State commuters, but the campus is doing more to make these students feel more at home.

(Editors note: this story will conclude in issue 10.)