Juniors and Seniors park their cars in the parking garage near the arts building. (Photo Credit: Olivia Payne/Achona Online)
Juniors and Seniors park their cars in the parking garage near the arts building.

Photo Credit: Olivia Payne/Achona Online

Students are affected by long commutes to campus

September 3, 2021

Long drives are fun in the summer, but when it comes to going back and forth to school, it can be a hassle. Many students at Academy have long commutes to get to campus. 

Students have commutes from 30 minutes to an hour. While traffic times have been decreasing since 2019, there is still heavy congestion during the main traffic hours. Students who live at least 30 minutes away from Academy have to leave earlier to beat the traffic.

The drive is very long, so I usually have to leave my house by 6:45 AM or else I’ll be very late. The only reason my drive is so long is because of the amount of traffic there is in the morning by my house… Even with the late start on Wednesdays, I still have to get up and leave my house at the same time, so Wednesdays are like every other day for me.” said Katherine Yencle-Torres (‘24).

 

Students who live farther away from Academy don’t see the benefits of late start days. The negative effects of long commutes can build up. Long drives lead to less time to do homework, especially if students have extracurricular activities after school. This leads to less sleep, which can negatively affect students’ performance in school. Students who go to bed late and have longer commutes are more affected than students who go to bed late and have shorter commutes. Going to bed at midnight has very different meanings for students who have different commute times. For students who live close to Academy, this could mean about seven or more hours of sleep, while students who live far away may only have five hours of sleep. 

Juniors and Seniors who drive themselves to school are very affected by the drive. They have the added stress of having to drive a long distance each morning. It can add to their fatigue and it gives them less time to complete homework. However, there are benefits to having long commutes for students who don’t drive to school. It gives students time in the morning to do homework or take a nap in the car. Having more time in the morning to do homework and study allows students to go to sleep earlier at night. 

“It’s hard having to get up so early so that we can beat traffic. There is some upside to it; I do get to occasionally take a nap which is nice. Also, if I have any homework that I couldn’t get done the night before, I have time for that.” said Kathryn Burke (‘24).

A poll taken on Instagram shows that 55% of 50 students have a 30 minute or longer drive. (Photo Credit: Olivia Payne/Achona Online)

 

Students who live in close to Academy are also affected. Living close to Academy does have the benefits of sleeping in and having a short drive (or even walk). If they forget something or need to go home before an activity, they have time to do that. Yet, some students would rather live farther from Academy.

“I live about five minutes from school. I would rather be farther from Academy because I would rather separate my personal life from my school life. I am reminded of the work and stress of school whenever I pass by.” said Reese Edlund (‘24).

People with long commutes to Academy often make the choice to have a long commute. There are many public schools near suburban residential areas, but the quality of public schools around suburban neighborhoods may not be up to par with the quality of private schools in urban areas — such as Academy. Brynn Wilary (‘23) chose Academy because she didn’t like the schools near her, even if it meant a 45 minute to an hour commute.

I felt Academy had the best academics of any school closer to me. From what I had seen in my shadow day, the teachers really cared about the students and wanted them to succeed (which has shown to be true in my time here). Additionally, the sense of community at Academy was unlike anything around me, and allowed you to be able to have classmates who wanted the best for you and wanted you to succeed plus a large alumni network that provides many opportunities as well.” said Brynn Wilary (‘23).

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