My commute is kind of crazy: Door-to-door roundtrip, it takes five hours. Some days I really don’t mind it, others I feel I could go off the deep end like Michael Douglas in Falling Down. Here’s a quick synopsis of my everyday journey:
-up at 5:30 a.m., pulling out of my driveway by 6.
-frantic 5-10 minute drive to get to the Metra train station in Kenosha, Wis., praying to hit every green light and hoping for no cops with speed guns along the way. Try to find a close parking spot at the train station. Jump out of the car, grab my backpack and lunch, and do the awkward shuffle/run with my backpack swaying from side to side, and hop on the Metra by 6:15 a.m.
-an hour-and-a-half train ride where it’s crucial to be productive. I create my own little work space in the cramped seat: computer open, notes propped up, pen, phone, water bottle and snack by my side. Arrive at Ogilvy Station in downtown Chicago by 7:45 a.m.
-gather my things for a brisk 5-minute walk on the crowded sidewalks full of fellow commuters to catch the CTA Green Line el at Clinton.
-5-10 minute wait on the platform where I usually get out some notes I can study for the 15-20 minute ride to the 35th/Bronzville/IIT stop.
-hop off the el around 8:15, walk 5-10 minutes, cross Michigan Ave. and finally reach my destination!
This all assumes that the Metra and el are on time and running smoothly. Also, you can’t forget about the weather factor. A downpour, snow or the biting Chicago winter winds can make things interesting. On exam days, the trains don’t get me there early enough, so I’m up at 4:30 a.m. to drive there and beat the morning traffic. I’m also thankful to all of my classmates who’ve let me crash at their apartment or dorm room the night before exams. About two more years of this commute and I’m done, but it’ll be well worth it!