Tips for Students with the Commuting Blues

By Lily Tiarks

MBTA_Bus_Route_23As many of you are first-year students, this may be your first experience commuting somewhere other than school. Or maybe not. But either way, commuting can be one of the more challenging elements of volunteering.

I bet we’ve all been there—you know that you should be on your way to volunteering, and you know that you’ll have a good time once you get there, but the idea of putting on your coat and walking—or taking the bus or train—a significant distance is making you delay and drag your feet. I know I have been. My first year at Northeastern, I did weekly volunteer service at the Franklin Park Coalition through the Civic Engagement Program. Every Saturday morning, we had to be on the bus at 9:30am. As the year wore on, and the weather got colder, and we all got busier and more tired, this became more and more challenging (and, quite frankly, it wasn’t a breeze to begin with).

My advice to those in similar situations is, first of all, to try to find commuting partners. If you know a classmate or friend is headed the way you are around the same time, going there together is a good way to hold each other accountable for being on time and can make the time pass somewhat faster.

Second, try to keep in mind why you commute. Part of performing community service is remembering that this is about how you can serve others. The focus should be on those whom you serve, and not your own comfort or convenience. You commute so you get to the place where you can help. Try to reflect on the positive experiences you’ve had volunteering, and remember that commuting is a component of, rather than a hindrance to, that process. Hopefully that will make your commute feel a little shorter.

(And if all else fails, bring a book, and read it on the bus.)

May you all have safe and pleasant commuting experiences!

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