Spring is in the air! Well, not yet, unfortunately. With another winter storm predicted to be on our heels and promising however many inches of snow, the spring semester attitude is on full blast. Yes, I can already hear you sighing, whether in frustration or in relief!
Some of us commute by bicycle, skateboarding, or walking, by car, by metro, and by shuttle or bus. Some of us commute anywhere from a few minutes to least an hour or more. Making the trek every morning from Leesburg (just short of an hour away from Fairfax, without traffic), I know how difficult driving can be. Just this morning, I left at 7:20am just so I could be here early and get coffee before I came into work this morning. But due to traffic and the general madness that is my commute, I pulled into Rappahannock parking deck at 8:45am. There was no way I was going to get my coffee in time. Without my daily caramel macchiato, the struggle – as the modern saying goes – has been a little too real.
Maintaining my sanity during this time of hardship has given me a chance to re-evaluate how I do my commute. One of the things that have improved my commuting tremendously is playing music. Thankfully I can hook up my phone to my car before pulling out of my driveway each morning, pull up my commuting playlist, put it on shuffle, tuck it out of sight and into my center console, and jam out during my entire commute. Music, whether it be from your MP3 player, a CD, or on the radio can be a tremendous help in getting you through your travels, regardless of how you commute. Another thing some off-campus students do is listen to an audio book – there are tons to choose from in the JC library! Or if you want to be economically and ecologically friendly, you can carpool with friends.
Especially if you’re driving, ultimately, it’s up to your discretion (and the law) what you do to make the most of your commute, depending on how far you’re traveling. The number one priority is to make sure that you are paying attention to the road and are able to perceive what is going on around you, and that you are not multitasking while you are driving. Remember that it is illegal to text and drive in Virginia (in the entire DC, Maryland, and Virginia area, actually)! Your safety is of utmost importance. Don’t forget to buckle those seatbelts! Keep in mind the laws of the state(s) and place(s) you are driving. Getting pulled over or ending up in an accident can very quickly turn your day sour.
Lastly, especially if you are driving and you don’t have a reserved parking pass, make sure you are getting to campus early if you want a good spot. It’s never fun having to park in the back of Lot K. After a year of having a general parking permit, I found that a reserved pass is much more convenient. Because I have to drive that kind of distance to get here (regardless of whether or not I get my caramel macchiato), it gives me solace that no matter what time I arrive, I’m (almost) completely certain that I have a parking space waiting for me.
Drive safely, and make the most of your day, my fellow Patriots!
Waiting for warmer weather,
Geoffrey Payne, Off-Campus Advisor