Just Another Snarky Student Blog

September 27, 2007

Bus versus Car — one student’s struggle to get to class on time

Filed under: bus,car,classtime,college,commute,late,school,students,time lapsing,transportation,UC Berkeley — justanothersnarkystudentblog @ 12:39 am

As some of you know, I’m a student at the dreaded UC Berkeley. As a student at this proper institution, my tuition includes a semester long bus pass for the East Bay’s bus system, AC Transit. Thankfully, I have a Rapid Bus Line, specifically the “1R”, only three long blocks from my apartment. Directly in front of my apartment is a regular “1” bus line stop. I also have a car that is available to me.

Every day, I spend time debating, deciding and finally using one of my three options for getting to –and from– school.

So, the times it can take to get to school using three transportation types:

1R: Walk 3 blocks to bus stop. Once on the “1R” bus, it only takes 5 minutes to get to school. Exit bus at Telegraph and Bancroft, and walk to class for 7 minutes. Arrive feeling warm.

1: Walk 20 feet to bus stop. Once on the “1” bus, it only takes 10-12 minutes to get to school. Exit bus at Telegraph and Bancroft, and walk to class for 7 minutes. Arrive feeling slightly less warm.

Car: Walk 20 feet to car. Once in car, it only takes 7 minutes to get as close to school as possible. Park. Walk from car to school for 17 minutes. Arrive feeling very overheated.
Here’s the dilemma, as I’m sure you’ve gathered..

Is it better to walk the three blocks to the 1R stop, risking missing the 1 bus between stops?

Is it better to walk 20 feet to the 1 stop, and take longer to get to school?

Is it better to drive part way to school, park, and walk the rest of the distance?

There are several factors to consider in this bus-car-dilemma;

            *TIME — The bus is faster, but involves waiting and/or missing a bus by thirty seconds

            *MONEY — The bus is free. Gas costs money.

            *CONVENIENCE — The car is available for driving on my schedule.

            *GETTING VERY OVERHEATED — By walking quickly to class, body temperature inevitably rises.

            *LAZINESS — Driving initially takes less effort, but then longer walks to class takes more energy. Plus, books are                                             heavy.

So which is it?! Which factor ends up deciding my transportation path, each and every day?!

Well, I’ll tell ya.. it depends. ..and mostly on time:
If I’m running early (which happens, maybe, twice a week), I walk over to the 1R.

If I’m right on time (again, once a week), I walk right up to the 1 stop.

If I’m running late –or miss the bus– (which happens, easily, twice a week), then I hop in the car.

This is how it goes;

  1. Start getting ready for school
  2. Check time and bus schedule online (NextBus has GPS systems on buses to give accurate arrival times)
  3. Do mental calculation to when the next bus arrives minus how long it takes to walk to the bus stop
  4. Rush getting ready for school
  5. Check time and bus schedule again
  6. Feel panic start to rise as mental calculations show that you must be out the door in less than five minutes
  7. Throw last couple items together
  8. Put on shoes, check bag for phone, wallet, bus pass, school stuff and grab keys.
  9. Go to the bathroom, one last time
  10. Hear “hhhssshhhhch” of bus pulling up directly outside of building
  11. Curse self while still on toilet
  12. Re-check time and online bus schedule
  13. Note that the next bus doesn’t come for 15 minutes
  14. Say “screw it” to yourself, and take the car
  15. Drive.
  16. Park.
  17. Walk super-fast to school, swerving around pedestrians that get in the way
  18. Arrive to class incredibly overheated and barely on time

(Repeat the very next day.. and next day… and next… with minor variations.. )


If only I could park near a busline, then all my problems would be solved.

Oh wait, no they wouldn’t. That’s just one more set of mental calculations before my caffeine fix.





September 18, 2007

Reading for Fun: How to experience time lapsing without hallucinogins

Filed under: college,distraction,fun reading,guilt,reading,school,students,summer reading,time lapsing,unassigned reading — justanothersnarkystudentblog @ 4:10 pm

Girl reading a book under the covers

Do you remember the days of summer reading time? Endless library trips? Feeling like summer lasted years?

With all my college school work building up, I’ve been reminiscing about those long sunny days. At any given time, a kid could pick up a book, thumb through it for a couple of hours, and feel a sense of peace. Even though some precious summer time was dedicated to reading, it didn’t feel wasted. Quite the contrary – a bit of reading helped to magnify the greatness of every other summer activity: swimming, hikes, playing with friends and siblings, and simply being outdoors… under the expansive blue sky.

No More.

Ever since entering into college, my “fun reading time” has suffered unimaginably. Just the other day, I could not stand to read about “Literacy in the early 1900s” anymore, and “The development of gendered toys” was making me crazy. I could not stand to read about another GI Joe or dollhouse, and I rolled my eyes at the discussion of how slavery in the south allowed white children more leisure time (don’t get me wrong, all very interesting, but I needed a freakin’ break!).

So I did it.

I picked up an old favorite book I’d been eyeing on my shelf – The Running Man by Stephen King , and settled down to do some –much needed — fun reading. With no one else home, I stretched out on the couch and let myself become immersed in the story.

Before I knew it, hours had passed, and I had read 70 pages! Holy shit! 70 pages?! I need to do that much more homework reading for tomorrow! Ahhh crap.

This is how it goes:

  1. Do homework.
  2. You really want to take a break.
  3. Do more homework.
  4. Decide to take a break before your brain implodes.
  5. Look around your space – what else is there to distract yourself from homework?
  6. Identify fun book or magazine you’ve been putting off.
  7. Consciously say to yourself, “I should really be doing homework, not reading for fun.”
  8. Consciously say to yourself, “Fuckit. I NEED a break… I won’t let myself get distracted for long.”
  9. Read for fun.
  10. Somehow, a time lapse occurs and hours pass, unnoticed.
  11. Need to pee (or get thirsty, or the phone rings).
  12. Note the time.
  13. Consciously say to yourself, “whaa? How did that happen?! I thought I was only reading for a little while.. It’s been.. 2+ hours?! How is that possible?! Oh no! I need to get back to homework!!”
  14. Do homework.

This isn’t like some of the other college student cycles we’ve been through – because it won’t repeat right away. You’ll do homework until you feel like your brain will implode and you’ll allow yourself to be distracted by something else – the internet, a phone call, TV, but you won’t get back to that book. Somewhere in your mind, you are vaguely frightened that it stole so much of your time, without you even noticing. You may even shun the book, hurling it across the room (as I did, just the other day). But don’t fret. Soon you’ll forget… and pick it up again over the weekend.

THEN you’ll repeat.

70 pages of fun reading?

Dang, I coulda finished my homework in that amount of time.. and more!.. Stupid brain, needing a break. Gah!


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