Life as a Commuter at Newhouse

Life as a Commuter at Newhouse

When I came to visit Syracuse last January, one of my main concerns was housing. I looked at two apartment complexes when I came here with my mom and grandmother. I liked both and was contemplating my final decision on where I wanted to attend grad school.

Once I did decide Syracuse was the school for me, selecting an apartment was my next big decision. My mom wanted to know if I wanted to explore any other options or choose between the two apartments we looked at on our visit.

I thought about it for a while and told her I would choose one of two apartments we viewed because I knew what to expect. We reached out to one of the apartment complexes, but they never got back with us. So, that made the decision a no-brainer. I chose High Acres Apartments and Townhouses, which about a 15-minute drive from Newhouse. That drive didn’t seem so bad, because where I come from, in Dayton, Ohio, a lot of things are 15 minutes away from my house, so I was used to that kind of commute.

My mom, grandmother, grandfather, and uncle all came to Syracuse to help me move in. I arrived in Syracuse on June 16, two weeks before the summer semester started. I wanted to move in two weeks early, so I could get a feel for the area and kind of find my way around before school officially started. My family stayed for a week to help me get my apartment set up and to explore the City of Syracuse while they were here.

When the summer semester started, things were going pretty smooth. I enjoyed meeting new friends and beginning the program (Broadcast and Digital Journalism is my major here at SU).

As we began to get to know each other, I found out that most, if not all of my classmates, stay closer to campus and most people are within walking distance of Newhouse. Sometimes I think about my decision to stay so far away from campus, but I like where I stay and I’m comfortable with my decision. Sure, it means I have to wake up a bit earlier than most people, in preparation for the commute, but that isn’t the end of the world.

When it got closer to the winter, I began to question that decision a bit more. Two days before Thanksgiving break, there was a snowstorm and I got stuck in the snow. I got off of work from my shift at my on-campus job at midnight and began to make my way home.

On the way home I got stuck in the snow, going up a slight incline. I called my mom, she gave me some advice and I was eventually able to get out of that spot. But, that was just the beginning of what would be a long night. There are two routes I can take to my apartment that will get me there in the shortest amount of time. I took the route I usually take and I got stuck AGAIN. I called the police and they sent help my way.

When the police arrived, they told me to turn around and follow a car that was going in the same direction I was headed. I turned around, but by the time I got to the bottom of the hill, the other vehicle was out of sight. So, I just went on my instincts and took what looked like the next closest route.

I did that and faced the other hill I was referring to. And, yeah, you guessed it, I got stuck again. After struggling for a while, a young couple offered to help me. I couldn’t get up the hill, so I turned around and they told me another way I could get home.

I went the other way and ended up in area I was familiar with. At that point I just knew I was finally going to get home. But it wasn’t that easy. My 2007 Nissan Maxima wasn’t doing well in the heavy snow.

I got stuck again and in the wildest series of events, the couple ran into me again. Seeing me stuck again, they stopped and tried to help. We tried and tried and even when I made a little progress, I would continue to get stuck.

After about two hours of them trying to help, and four total hours of trying to get home, in what is only a 15 minute drive, they decide to take me home. I pulled my car to the side of the street and parked it near the side of the rode and planned to pick it up the next morning.

The next morning I ordered an Uber to go pick up my car. When I got there my car was no where to be found. I called the sheriff to see if they had any record of my car. They did. The only problem is my car had been towed. I stayed in the Uber and he dropped me off at the impound. I spent $48 on that Uber ride. It costed $216 to get my car out and on top of that, I got a ticket for where my car was parked the night before. Then I had to fill my gas tank. I easily spent $300 that morning and had to miss class because of the events that transpired. That was an unforgettable 12 hours.

Now, if I know it is supposed to be severe weather in the area, I stay with a friend that lives closer to campus. That night makes me think I should have checked out some apartments closer to campus. But, as I said before I am still comfortable with my decision.

My advice to prospective students would be to consider as many housing options as you possibly can. Limiting myself to those two apartments might not have been the best decisions. Do what is best for you, but keep the Syracuse weather conditions in mind when making your decision. Thick snow and slick roads will be a part of your commute if you have to drive a long distance.

Also, make friends while you are here because you will see these people everyday and you never know when you will need each other.

Being a commuter at Newhouse can be a challenge, it certainly has been for me. It’s not everyday that I face challenges like I did that night in November, so I don’t want to scare anyone away from living where they feel comfortable. Overall, I am satisfied with my decision and I am enjoying the experience, opportunities and exposure from my time at Newhouse.

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Brandon Williams
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