A Day in the Life of a Commuter Student
One of the coolest things about Furman is its 4 year residential requirement, meaning students live on campus for all four years.
As a first year student, you live in a community with other first years, but have the opportunity to get to know and become close friends with students from all different class years.
But, there are some exceptions to the 4 year residential requirement and one of those is for students who live close by and can commute.
Though my family lives in Greenville, I decided that it would be best to live on campus throughout my four years at Furman, but COVID-19 changed my plans this semester and I decided to commute from my Dad’s house in Sans Souci, a neighborhood super close to Furman.
The only problem? I don’t have a car.
Luckily, the Swamp Rabbit Trail runs behind our neighborhood and goes right past Furman, so it’s only a short 3 mile (about twenty minutes) ride to campus.
Here’s what a typical week-day in my life looks like:
6:30am – I have an in-person 8am class, so I wake up pretty early on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I wake up, get ready, and grab a quick bite to eat before I head out.
7:25am – I hop on my bike and begin the trek to Furman. It’s getting pretty chilly in the mornings and it rains some days, but the ride is very peaceful and I get to say hello to many of the same Woodlands Residents as they’re on their morning walks.
7:45am – I get to school, park my bike, change into my school clothes, and head to class.
8am-10am – For my Visual/Performing Arts credit, I’m taking a Digital Storytelling class through the Communications department. We write blogs every week and do various digital media projects. It’s a long class, but it’s mostly just fun projects, so I enjoy it.
10am-12pm – I head to work a two hour shift in the Library. These days there aren’t too many people there, so I sort books for a little while then use the rest of the time to catch up on my homework or chat with friends who walk by.
12pm-1pm – Usually I grab lunch with a friend or my boyfriend. Commuters have the choice of getting a reduced meal plan, so I have just enough swipes to last the semester in the DH and LOTS of points to last me in the Pden. When the weather is nice, we take our food to go and sit by the lake. Living off campus has made me a lot more intentional with how I schedule and spend time with my friends. It’s harder to balance my social life, especially because we take social distancing pretty seriously, but my friends are always willing to schedule a meal, take a lake walk, or go eno-ing by the bell tower.
1:50-4pm – I have two virtual classes back to back, Statistics and Spanish. Some days I decide to bike home in the short window between lunch and class, but other days I find a study room in the Library and take my classes via Zoom in there.
Recently there have been a handful of spaces that used to be for CLPs and other events that are now mostly for study space during the day. Luckily, I haven’t struggled to find a quiet place to take my classes yet.
4-6pm – Most days I bike back either before or after my back to back classes and I eat dinner with my family and take a breather. I use this time to take a quick rest before finishing my homework– which usually means aimlessly scrolling through TikTok until I get bored.
6:30-8pm – This semester I joined a women’s empowerment workout club, CHAARG. Twice a week we have in-person (small group or outdoor) workouts with various exercise studios and trainers across Greenville. On days when there’s a workout, I bike back to campus as a warm up, do my workout, and bike back. Sometimes if I’m extra tired the next day, I’ll let my legs rest and take my classes online.
8pm – By this time it’s pretty dark out and I’m still commuting by bike. I’ve recently overcome my fear of biking at night by practicing it. When I bike at night I make sure I have on reflective gear, my bike lights charged, and I stay on the phone with a friend or family member.
If this seems like a long day… it is! But I wouldn’t have it any other way! I’ve loved commuting and I’ve found a really great balance of being a part of the campus community and spending time with my family.
Plus, my legs are stronger than they’ve ever been and taking the time to exercise and be in nature twice a day has really improved my mood.
In terms of a typical day at Furman, I do pretty much all the same things, just in a different time frame and I have to remember to take care of myself and take days off.
Though I see commuting as a temporary experience in my Furman career, it’s been really cool to do something different.