Riddin’ the Rails


Photo Courtesy of Amanda M. Castro

West Haven train station

I can bet that any commute is a colossal pain for anyone – all that unmoving traffic and stinky subway carts. But I can probably one-up all of that by saying that I commute all the way to the University of New Haven campus from the Bronx, N.Y by train.

Yes, literally a whole state away. On a train (or two…depends on the schedule).

I leave the house earlier and earlier, to compensate for the inescapable delays. And I have to go to bed earlier to leave earlier – or be exhausted for the whole day, falling asleep during my classes or being dangerously close to doing so. I also spend most of my commute looking out the window of the train and trying to memorize the twenty-three stops (in order) to and from Fordham Metro-North Train Station, and I can say that I’m very close to it after a year of training.

Then I get to campus and I remember that I have to do it all over again in two days.

In my freshman year at the University of New Haven, my schedule was the most complicated thing that someone like me had ever laid eyes on. I had two classes every day, both at different ends of the day. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue for a resident or even a commuter student. But for me, it was like making me do a couple of burpees for a grade.

And I can’t even begin to tell you the pity parties my classmates and friends throw for me when I mention my commute.

Though I’m a special case, other commuters are also bothered by the traffic, for a different reason. But, we share one thing in common: the weather.

Sophomore community-clinical psychology major Ariana Weinstein drives to campus and takes about thirty-five minutes to drive to and from campus. She says that the drive can get difficult when there’s bad weather involved.

“It’s a little hard because the weather is bad sometimes,” said Weinstein, “Which makes it difficult to get to class. I usually have to get to school like an hour early to find a spot as well.”

As a train commuter, I can say that there are times where the weather is insufferable in the New York area, but it’s tolerable in Connecticut. The rails are dangerous when it snows. (If you don’t believe me, you can find scary stories about train tracks catching fire.)

According to a 2019 Australian study, found that those who commute longer distances tend to have more days off work. In my case, I made it my schedule so I can come to class twice-a-week and it works well for me.

Weinstein has considered what would be best for her – staying a commuter or becoming a resident at the University. She said, “I don’t think living on campus would be something I would want to do. I just wish being a commuter was a little easier.”

Personally, living on campus was never a desire of mine because of the comfort I feel living at home in the company of my family. Being a commuter also gives me the ability to bulk up my classes into two days and have the rest of the days in the week off.

The commute could be easier and less stressful, but despite the long, tedious and sometimes troubling commute, at least I get to learn something and it will all have been worth it in the end.