Joanna Danielak completed her studies at Cerritos College in spring 2010. She transferred to UCLA in fall 2010, where she is majoring in English.
I’ve really hit a wall in regards to time management. I am finding it ridiculous and nearly impossible to commute to school (usually one hour and then some minutes), go to class and/or work, commute home (another hour and thirty minutes – oh 5 freeway how I loathe and despise you!), and then be expected to have any stamina left to read the hundred or so pages a night average I’ve amassed. I do suppose that this is part of the load that an English major must take on; I can’t say that I was unaware that actual READING would be involved. Sometimes the reading are tedious and a chore to get through, but then sometimes an assignment will come along that really stands out (in a good way). For example, I think I have discovered a personal, previously unrealized, love for Oscar Wilde. And I now realize that it is the assignment that results in personal discovery that really makes all of this worthwhile.
The commute issue is not something that can be so easily remedied. Sometimes, I wake up and feel this overwhelming urge to just roll over and not go to school that day. I recognize that this is a familiar feeling to students and workers the world over, and I remember having that exact same feeling while attending Cerritos. The difference now is that I have this mental image of freeways backed up with cars at a standstill that strengthens the case for staying home. Often, when caught in these afternoon traffic jams, I just want to scream and get out of the car and walk home because it just might be quicker. Obviously, I’ve never actually done that, but I’ve come to believe that if you want to attend a school with a commute, that you figure out your threshold for the extremes of L.A. traffic.
Is it possible to deal with the daily stress of traffic that moves too slowly, or conversely, traffic that moves too quickly (and results in those guys that tailgate the heck out of you just because your car doesn’t accelerate fast enough)? Is it actually feasible to go to school and still have time to study (and have a life) with the amount of time spent in transit? Is the amount of money saved by not having to pay monthly dorm/apartment rent worth the cost of gas and your sanity?
In addition to this, the question of the “campus experience” comes to mind. I am definitely feeling disconnected from my fellow Bruins, mostly because I have no time to partake in campus life. Clubs meet while I’m in class or in the evening when all I want is to make it home before 6:30. Sometimes, they meet on weekends, but I’m not going to sacrifice a day from my weekend to make that drive when it’s not necessary. I figure that once I lighten my class load, I’ll sign up for an activity here or there. Or maybe I’ll just suck it up and stay on campus long after my classes end for the day. Who knows.
So another question you must ask yourself is: how integral to my experience are the extracurricular activities offered by the university? If the answer is “very,” then something is definitely going to have to give. In my case, I chose the commute, and I intend to stick with this decision (for all my complaining). It’s definitely a personal choice; being able to sit at home and eat dinner with my parents almost every night makes the hellish traffic well worth it, and I have another year to get to know the school even better.
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