What I’ve Learned From My Summer Of Commuting

I was pretty confident that I could handle any type of commuting. I fly back and forth from school all the time and I’m constantly begging my friends to take road trips half way across the country with me. So naturally, when I accepted an internship in New York City, I thought the commute from my home in Long Island would be easy—Boy was I wrong.

Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t really research anything about physically traveling back and forth, or that my excitement to live at home with a full fridge for the first time in two years was unparalleled, but I have definitely learned my lesson: commuting is part of the job package.

My internship is located in downtown New York City and it takes me everyday about two or more hours to get to work, one way.  The cost of my commute is about thirty dollars per day and like many other college interns, my job is unpaid. While I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to work in such a great city, I have learned a lot about what other factors matter when deciding what jobs to take.

So, if you are living at home for the summer like me, you should consider if your boss will let you work from home for part of the week. After realizing that I was losing more money and time than planned, I cut down my in-office time to just two to three days a week , while I work the rest of the time from home. This means I’ve also realized how hard it is to turn off a Law and Order marathon and resist the beach when I should be at working on my computer, but if you really think you can buckle down everyday from home , it can save you both time and money.

Commuters jam packed in a subway

Maybe I’ve just been hidden from the truth of real world commuting. Currently, I attend a college where if you don’t want to take the bus, you can walk to pretty much any class. I also lived and interned in the heart of Washington D.C. last summer, which required a five minute walk to the Metro, a ten minute train ride and a four minute walk to the office. But now, with my 40 minute traffic packed drive to the train, 51 minute train ride, 20 minute sweaty subway trip and 10 minute walk to work, I’m seeing a whole new side of things.

While I’m lucky enough to only have to do the expensive commute a few times a week for just a summer, I’m very aware of the people who do this commute everyday year round. Seeing this begs the question, could I do that? Definitely, not for  long. This has taught me that there are other factors to consider outside the 9-5 work day. Commuting becomes a significant part of your day so if standing at the sub way car doors like a Kentucky Derby horse ready to race to the train, only to find out the seats are full and you’ll have to stand for the next hour sounds fun, then commuting to New York is for you.

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Jessica Golden

Jessica is a senior at the University of Michigan studying Political Science and Writing. If she’s not planning her next writing break for an iced coffee, she can be found looking for cute puppy photos, going on a run, or seriously reflecting about what to do as a future career one day.