Even just saying the words “Long Island Expressway” made me nervous. Now, I am commuting on it four out of seven days a week. If you rewind to December of 2017, you will see little seventeen-year-old me, having one of her first driving lessons on the infamous L.I.E. That day was life changing for me. It was the first highway I have ever driven and just my luck, one of the busiest highways in New York City. I can remember that my heart beat got faster, and my palms were sweaty and gripping onto the steering wheel as if my life depended on it… and it did. With all of that said, I passed my road test on the first try. It was the most nerve-racking thing I have ever done, hands down. I owe that to my mom, grandpa, and driving teacher. But, nine months later and I can happily say that I swear by that highway.
I came into Farmingdale knowing that the commute will be hard to get used to during the first few weeks. Driving by myself during rush hour is completely different to what I have been used to since Pre kindergarden. My mom drove me to school and my grandparents would pick me up. High school is when I became more independent and I would only be driving back home a few days, which was only a fifteen-minute ride and did not involve any kind of highway. Between then and now, I have gotten used to driving on other ways and streets. I have helped my mom with driving out of state, drive my grandparents to the doctors, and going out with my friends. Thankfully I am comfortable behind the wheel. I am so comfortable and safe that my mom even got me a new car. My white Chevy Equinox 2018 is my prize possession and I have found myself to be even more careful when driving it.
The second time on the Long Island Expressway was for my RAM orientation and it was a huge difference from the first time. Of course, I was still nervous, but I noticed that I was calmer this time around. I feel like I had to be calm about this drive because it was going to be my drive for the next four years. But not only is the Long Island Expressway busy, it can be dangerous if you think about it. I have been in college for a little more than a month and I have had my fair share of tailgaters, road rage drivers, high beam users, and just plain old slow drivers. Not only are they in SUVs or sedans, half of these are truck drivers. Not the U-Haul trucks either, but we are talking about the kinds that you would see on I-95 driving up from North Carolina. Yes, I am one of those drivers that speeds up a little bit more just to past the trucks. They are daunting and if anyone says that they are not, they are lying.
Coming into college as a commuter student worried me, not only about how my actual commute would be, but also making new friends and meeting new people. If you are a resident, it is obvious that you will meet new people and have more friends since you will be living there. But being a commuter student makes that all a little more difficult. Thankfully, commuting and making new friends were not as difficult as I thought it would be. I think of commuting as an adventure. You never know what you are going to see or who you are going to come across.
I now know what exits are usually backed up and now much time I should give myself, so I won’t be late. I noticed that the earlier that I leave, the more traffic I hit. I can only imagine what it would be like in the winter. That will be the real test. The snow, cold temperatures, black ice, and the time change all comes with my commute very soon, sooner than I think. I do believe that I am a good driver, but I will definitely know if I am when I have to drive through those conditions. I will definitely have to leave earlier than I do now, not only to avoid traffic but to find a decent parking spot on campus.
Driving to Farmingdale helped me become more confident in my driving and myself. It made me see what I am capable of.