Commuting: The True College Experience

The jury is out: based on my own observations, there are more commuters than residents at KSU. This revelation may come as a surprise to those of the on- campus community, so I think we, the commuting majority, should explain to them why everyone else is doing it.

There are several rewarding aspects of commuting, each of which has their own perks.

Take the traffic aspect for instance: what’s not to love? I can’t tell you how much I love hanging out in the middle of Chastain Road with a bunch of strangers sitting in our cars like we’re in an easygoing parade, regardless of the weather.

If it happens to be rainy, I get to listen to that hypnotic song played by my windshield wipers. It puts me in a kind of trance that just makes it so much easier for me to focus once I make it to class, no matter how wet I am. And then when it’s warm and sunny, a lot of commuters love rolling down their windows. Catching a whiff of that sweet- smelling atmospheric exhaust just soothes my nerves like nothing else on test days.

When we aren’t in such an academic mood, there are tons of silly games commuters like to play. Most people have heard of ‘Who’s Horn is Loudest’ or ‘How Close to My Bumper Can You Get,’ but my personal favorite is ‘True or False: I’m About to Change Lanes.’

Some commuters, like senior English/Nursing double major, Audrey McAnarney, enjoy it
so much they even go out of their way to commute to class. “I don’t have a car,” McAnarney admits, “but I love commuting so much I get my parents to drive me. It’s a fun activity that we can do together and bond over.”

Unfortunately for Audrey, getting dropped off in front of the English building causes her to miss out on one of the most exhilarating features of commuting: parking.

Every semester, commuters pay $83 to apply for a coveted space in one of KSU’s select parking lots and decks. Almost everyone who applies is accepted into the program, but this just makes KSU’s parking spots more desirable. In the commuting world, if you don’t have one, you want one.

Once approved, choosing which zone to park in is often a challenge for the lucky commuter as each option offers numerous benefits. The West Deck is commonly believed to hold the most prestigious spots while the East Lot is believed to provide access to the most scenic approach to class. The Central Deck, with the largest selection of spots, often reels in commuters with its catchy motto: “All for One Spot, and One Spot for All.”

For many, like senior English major, Maribeth Bryan, parking in the Central Deck is the most exciting event of her day. “Sometimes I drive around inside the deck for 15 minutes,” Bryan declared, “just trying to find that one spot that’s calling for me. The longer it takes, the more eager I become and the faster I drive. It’s thrilling! And then, when I find it, I feel so triumphant it’s like I’ve just won a veggie-dog eating contest!”

Between the traffic games and parking victories, is no wonder why commuting is so glorious. There’s so much more we haven’t gotten into yet: like how much fun it is at the Frey/Chastain red light to try to guess the riddle that that politically-charged homeless bike-rider guy has on his sign.

Just the sights and sounds commuters get to witness moving at bottleneck speeds is enough to make anyone jealous; I know residents, but don’t feel bad. After all, if it weren’t for you on-campus residents, we wouldn’t have anyone’s eyes beholding us when we strolled into class fashionably late and breathless from the last- minute exercise our parking selection process afforded us. Thank you, residents, for making commuting that much more awesome!

 

Ryan is a senior and an English major.