Harrisites with lengthy commutes share struggles & stresses

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Known for its diverse student body, Townsend Harris welcomes students from many parts of New York City. Although many students live in and around Queens, some must wake up hours before school starts in order to arrive on time for their first band class. 

Junior Amanda Sukhdeo commutes daily from the Bronx. “It takes me about an hour and a half to travel from home to school and vice versa. I wake up at 4:30 AM every day and reach home around 5:00 PM when I don’t attend any extracurriculars,” she said. Similarly, senior Shannon Thomas, who lives in Rockaway, carefully factors in transportation when planning her schedule. “During the spring, I won’t think as much about when I leave because the sun is out for a longer time, but during the winter, the sun goes down at 4:30 PM, making it a little more difficult and more [likely for me to leave school] earlier. With lots of traffic, leaving school could take two hours.” 

Sophomore Haley O’toole, who lives in Broad Channel, about ten miles from school, finds her long commute difficult to balance with her extracurriculars. “You just can’t procrastinate or slack off. Some days you’re exhausted and tired, but you have to push through,” she said. She makes the most of her time by occasionally doing homework during lunch. “I only do it during lunch if I know my day is really busy or my workload is heavy, but lunch is a time to socialize with other people… Sometimes the buses are crowded and make me incapable of doing homework

Amanda agreed, “ I am always worried about getting home at a reasonable time and having enough time to do my homework while obtaining a decent amount of sleep every night,” she said. To compensate, she often completes some of her homework on the bus, allowing her to allocate her time to other extracurriculars. “Managing my time has allowed me to take part in FON this year, something I didn’t do previously because of the distance I would have to travel after practices,” she said. 

Junior Riya Nobi explained how her long commute from Brooklyn impacts her involvement at school. “I tend to avoid activities that stay later than 4:00 PM because that’ll mean I’ll get home around 7 or 8,” she said. Staying at school late is also difficult because it can be dangerous to travel after sunset. “When I was on a sports team in the past years, because I would leave so late, my parents would have to come pick me up for my own safety,” Shannon explained. 

Still, Shannon believes there may be some benefits to living at such a distance from school. “I still try and stay as late as I possibly can because I will get more done in school… If I get home late, I pressure myself to do more in less time and I am more productive than when I come home [earlier] and spend hours procrastinating and not enjoying possible extracurriculars with my friends at school.” She added, “Even though the commute can be a hassle, I wouldn’t give up living in Rockaway.”

Photo by Katrina Dydzuhn, Photography Editor.