Physics student Lána Salmon describes how she travels to UCD each morning.
Each morning at 7am I hop on the bus and run upstairs to grab the front seat. I’m not sure how it became my seat, but it’s got the best views in the house. When people find out that I commute from Celbridge, a town near Maynooth on the Kildare-Dublin border, the look on their faces is usually one of horror. This look is usually followed by a couple of questions – ‘Why didn’t you go to Maynooth?’, ‘Are you going to move closer to campus next year?’, ‘Are you insane?’, among other variations.
I always wanted to go to UCD and I wasn’t going to let a journey time change my mind. Science in UCD was the perfect fit for me, even if it was a little further away than other courses. I have never considered moving out. Partly because I like coming home each evening and partly because the commute has sort of become a part of me and my routine.
Like with every routine it took a bit of getting used to. The early mornings of first year, especially in the winter, were tough. I would struggle to keep my eyes open on the bus. But I motivated myself to get up early so I could go to the classes I enjoyed in the course that I love. I couldn’t argue with that – I was enjoying college so much that the tiredness was just a side effect.
Once I adjusted the early mornings on the bus were just a part of my day, and one that I looked forward to. As a music lover, I used this time to listen to music, or look over course notes from the day before. Some mornings, I would just sit and look out the window at Dublin City and the hustle and bustle of early morning Dublin.
In first year, the hour and a half on the bus got me ready for each exciting day. I was still getting used to college life and the commute was a part of that. Now as I enter fourth year the days are longer and I find I need that hour and a half of quiet in the morning. It wakes me up and more importantly wakes my brain up!
Regardless of the time of my first class, I get on the bus at 7am. When I step onto campus I feel refreshed, ready to go and start work. Whether I am going to a 9am lecture or to the library, the day has started.
A lot of people worry about the tiredness or the stress of commuting every day. But there are upsides to it – you get yourself into a routine and end up getting more work done. You get to come home every day (nothing beats your dinner made and your washing done!), and you get a little time to unwind each morning and evening. If you think you’ll struggle with it, give it a try. It’s not as bad as you think.
I find now that I don’t need the motivation to get up in the morning, it’s sort of in me. I know I am getting a headstart on the day, going to an exciting and dynamic campus to learn new and intriguing things to satisfy my curiosity. I’d travel much further than 30km for that any day.