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Commuter Life

If you’ve read some of my past posts, you probably know I’m a commuter.  Overall, this is the best possible way for me to get an exceptional higher education experience and maintain the lifestyle I’m used to at home.  My commute ranges from 35 to 45 minutes one way, depending on traffic, but I enjoy driving, so it’s actually something I look forward to.  A lot of the time, I listen to music (more on that here); sometimes, I will also review some concepts we’ve been covering in class to push myself to think a little harder.

One of the best (in my opinion) parts of being a commuter is that it forces me to be impeccable with time management.  Spending one-and-a-half hours per day on the road means I have that much less time for homework/anything else.  I have to get up every morning early enough to get ready, take care of my horses, and hopefully grab some breakfast before heading out the door for the day.  Mondays and Wednesdays are my long days, so I have to make sure I have a lunch packed in advance for them.  I also have to double-check (every day) that I have all of the materials/books/supplies I need, because I can’t just run back to my room in a matter of minutes.

For all the effort surrounding being a commuter student, I really do like it.  I can still work, see my family and horses, and have the comfort of home around me every morning and evening…but I also experience the wonderful campus community of Fontbonne during the day.  Sometimes being a commuter (and also my work schedule) prevents me from participating in evening activities on campus, but I’ve found some really great events during the day (and lately, I’ve had more than enough homework to keep me occupied all day and night).

My biggest tip for future commuters would be to have good self-discipline.  If you’re not on campus, it can be easy to forget about “college” and “homework”, but you really have to be on top of things at all times if you want to be a good student.  Plan your time and schedule wisely, which includes making not-so-fun decisions (passing up an outing with your friends to study for the upcoming exam is unpopular, but may be necessary).  Most of all, don’t forget to enjoy being a college student!

Blessings,

~Anna

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Okay, so where do I begin for this post?!  First of all, let’s start with the fact that I am pretty much all over the map as far as favorite artists/genres/etc. goes.  A lot of the time, it depends on my mood — if I’m a little down, or really upbeat, or stressed, or open to anything, it makes for different “musical cravings”.

My time on the road adds up to about 1 1/2 hours per day, so I end up listening to some form of music for upwards of 7 hours every week while I commute to and from campus.  My car has a free year-long subscription to Sirius radio so I’m definitely taking advantage of that through March; anything from French country and Spanish stations to retro (’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s) and classical.  Yeah…like I said, I’m all over the place.  I also often listen to 99.1 JOY! FM, which has some really nice contemporary Christian music, moments in the Word in the mornings, and ever-so-helpful on-time traffic reports that have given me enough warning to change my route more than once.

As far as favorite artists goes, I think it’s a toss-up between Matt Maher and Tenth Avenue North.  I really love the great variety of their songs, so no matter how I’m feeling, there always seems to be one that directly speaks to me.  I’ve also been known to dance really wildly to some of Matt’s songs.  I’m reserved on the outside, but inside there’s a spark of lively, unreserved craziness that will occasionally make its presence known. 😉

Oh!  I can’t leave out Hamilton!  I didn’t know anything about this smash-hit musical before this semester, but we’ve been using the soundtrack for some discussions and an assignment in my history class.  If you would ever like to engage in an endless, deep conversation about any of its songs or underlying meanings, by all means feel free to engage me…or just count the time until the whole shebang comes to the Fox next season!  I’m really looking forward to finally seeing the dancing and visual artistry go along with those catchy lyrics!

So to sum it all up, how about this quote from Victor Hugo (1802-1885)?  “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent”.  Words sung a certain way can be so much more powerful and meaningful than simply spoken.  Happy listening to whatever it is that you find enjoyable!

Blessings,

~Anna

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Hi everyone,

I hope that this blog finds you in a good spot on thing we call life. I wanted to highlight something that residential students might have difficulty understanding, just how hard being a commuter to college can be.

Now, I’ve been a commuter the previous two years at Fontbonne and over this wide span of time, I’ve seen and felt both sides of student engagement. Having come to Fontbonne as a freshman with the mindset of ‘I’m just going to head to class and come back home’, and that’s what I did. Not much involvement there. The trip to school and back was a discouraging factor, homesickness might have been a factor. I had to overcome that confining mentality.
Things have changed, thankfully. I’ve become much more involved and have made friends with people the old me wouldn’t have sprung for. I’m involved with: Griffin 101, Disney Leadership Program, Male Leadership Summit, you get the idea. I’ve grown out of the ‘I’m only a commuter’ attitude and have found that being open to staying on campus for events and to make real friends made Fontbonne a second home and not just a place for classes.

I hope this can help other commuters want to get more involved on campus. The rewards of friendship and growth as a person make sticking around after the bell are more than worth it.

Thank you,

Terragan

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If you are a commuter student at Fontbonne who cannot afford a parking pass, like me, there is a key component to your day to day experience that most residential students do not get the pleasure of experiencing: commuter bus rides.  Now, it does depend on the time of day that you get to see the widest array of backgrounds on the bus.  However, it only takes three steps up the bus’ stairs to gaze into the eyes of Fontbonne’s diversity.  On an average ride from the commuter lot on Clayton Road to Fontbonne’s campus around 9 a.m. on an average Tuesday morning, I am only a few feet away from:

one international student from Beijing, China

three from Saudi Arabia

one from Iraq

a couple of grad students

a basketball player

a soccer player

a baseball player who I most likely would never get close enough to smell had I not taken the bus and sat next to

a softball player

a professor, and

a bearded, non traditional student clearly practicing a speech of some sort.

These are people I would see as I cautiously cross the yellow sidewalks of Fontbonne on any given day.  There, the cowardly lion inside begs me not to open my mouth asking their name, or what their day requires of them.  But when I am on that 4 wheeled diesel, I cannot help but open my mouth to discover those things.  As I walk up those stairs, I have on my red, glittery slippers.  I take a seat.  I’m inquisitive as I remember that the clock is ticking before the Wizard parks the bus in front of Ryan Hall.

Typically I open a conversation with a joke or a compliment.  One particular instance I started an exchange with a baseball player when we both chuckled from witnessing a poor woman in a car beside us spilling food on her blouse.  I later came to find out that we knew a few of the same people from high school.  On another occasion I offered an international student a ride back to Cotta Hall when it was raining so she would not have to walk home without an umbrella.  We ended up swapping phone numbers, and are currently still friends.  These are just a couple examples of what can happen on a commuter bus without the walls of the academic buildings limiting the probability of meeting new people.

I am beyond thankful that I attend to a school with such a welcoming and diverse atmosphere.  I used to never think there were perks to being a low income student, but when I am on that bus, the culture and the opportunity to learn as much as I can in seven minutes about someone new, is worth more than buying a parking pass.

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