Making the most of a long commute

Danielle Parmentier

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CSUN alumna Spencer McKendall was one of only about eight percent of undergraduate students who now live on-campus making them close enough to classes to be able to avoid having to take the car, according to CSUN’s 2013 College Portrait.

The average commuter travels an average of 14.5 miles one-way, according to the CSUN Sustainability Plan for 2013-2023. This means that for the student who comes to school four times a week throughout the course of a semester the school commute alone will add about 1,400 miles to their vehicles.

“There was no way I was going to do that drive four times a week for two years,” said McKendall. “It’s just too far so that’s why I just moved here.”

So how are students overcoming their frustrations with long commute times?

Instead of thinking about that time as lost, utilizing that car time for productivity can ease some time-management tensions.

“The average [one-way travel] time for students at CSUN is 26.47 minutes,” stated Dr. Steven Graves on the Student Travel Cost Calculator webpage he created for his Economic Geography students through the department’s website.

The extra commute time adds up to an average of four hours per week. This is time lost instead of being used as valuable study time. Commuters can consider using their travel time to work while on-the-go.

Software can help ease the frustration of a long commute with hands-free productivity apps like Quanticapps Ltd.’s Voice Assistant app. It’s a $2.99 text-to-talk app that allows you to input notes that can be converted into audio files and then reviewed during a commute.

Focusing on using the time as a period of relaxation might be the only down time in a busy day. So by singing along to music, catching up on social phone calls and generally avoiding work-related thinking can be a welcome break for some.

Carpooling later in the semester is not unusual as students begin to network for their drives and share the burden with their student neighbors.

Even simply by thinking about the tasks to come, such as developing an idea for a presentation or preparing a mental outline for a research paper, the drive doesn’t have to feel like or amount to wasted time.

The administration at CSUN continues to try and alleviate some of the issues arising out of a mostly commuter school, as detailed in the Campus Master Plan. Online courses and hybrid courses remain a popular option for those who might be feeling that the stresses of a long drive might be a little too overwhelming or who cannot meet commuter needs with gas prices and vehicle wear-and-tear.

Once that coveted parking spot is finally found, using technology such as Android’s Smart Park which collects data about the physical location of a student’s chosen parking place, will shave a few minutes off the time it would take to remember where the car is parked.

Students, professors and staff however will get to enjoy a few extra days of driving relief due to the blend of legal holidays that will further lessen the amount of time everyone involved with the school has to be on the road, and that’s something everyone can be happy about.

For more information about student ride-sharing visit the Associated Student’s website, MyCarpool.net.