Find a transporation system at NIU that works for you

By Hayley Devitt

So far in my college career, I’ve always been able to get around.

The half-hour drive to my community college, plus having to work in another town after class, pretty much required I have a car. However, I know that many students at NIU and other four-year universities do not have a car on campus.

The harsh truth is motor vehicles are extremely difficult to afford. I was very fortunate to have my Chrysler Cirrus handed down to me when my mom bought a new car over a year ago. It is for this and a number of other reasons that I try not to take my mobility for granted.

With a vehicle of my own I can go straight to my destination on my own time. There is less time taken in walking and waiting for the bus and more time for getting things done.

Of course, the big pro to having a car of your own that isn’t mentioned much is the privacy that driving allows. Sometimes you need a moment to yourself. What if you need to cry?

Along that vein, singing in the car is very important to me. To some that might sound frivolous, but I find that singing while driving relieves stress; having nobody there to hear you is quite freeing. This method has also helped me prepare for roles in musicals.

For times when I’m not singing, I’m almost always tuned in to NPR. This addiction started with my long drives to work and school on a daily basis. The station gets me caught up on news and plays great music at night, but All Things Considered, Science Friday and A Prairie Home Companion are a comfort to me now because WNIJ is the only DeKalb station that also comes in back home in the Illinois Valley.

However, keeping a car on campus also comes with a host of problems, so I understand why some students choose not to.

Paying to park is a definite drag, especially in my own apartment’s lot. I didn’t purchase any permits for campus because I figured college is already expensive enough and I’m kind of a cheapskate.

On that note, the parking situation here on campus is a widely acknowledged calamity. In my first few weeks here, I’d cruise the side streets looking for a permit-free and available space and often think, “Doesn’t this school want to accommodate me?” Eventually, I learned where I can leave my car without getting towed or ticketed.

There’s also a problem with careless pedestrians. Many drivers here know how upsetting it is to miss a left-hand turn at an intersection because students walked when the light said “don’t walk.”

It is due to such drawbacks that I take the bus to class every day. On the other hand, for doing errands like grocery shopping, it is a luxury to have my car.

Whatever your circumstances at NIU, it is possible to work out a transportation system that works best for you.