Freshmen reflect on their first time traveling home

There’s no place like home after a long semester; let these freshmen help you find transportation for winter break.

Winter break is a necessary recess between semesters. The nicely situated month off should be stress-free and filled with hot chocolate and your aunt’s famous sugar cookies. For many out-of-state freshmen, however, the stress of determining the method of transportation for this long-awaited holiday is an unwelcome awakening to making mature decisions. Taking the school bus without a thought and arriving at the mailbox at the end of the driveway, signifying the end of the school day and the start of break, is no longer an option.

Out-of-state students have a few options to choose from when considering which method of transportation to take home. For those not too far outside the state, being picked up by a parent is not a bad option. Riding home with a parent provides at least a two-hour window of one-on-one, catch-up time to make up for the lack of phone calls home. It’s nice because you get to go home in a familiar setting; some might go as far to call this the privileged method of transportation. For Thanksgiving break, out-of-state freshman used a variety of transportation services to make it home.

“My dad came and picked me up and brought me home,” said Bernadette Dwyer, a political science major from O’Fallon, Illinois. “I got to spend time with my dad after being away from him for so long.”

Now, for us less-fortunate souls — the ones who live an unimaginable distance from school — driving home is not the most viable option. Luckily, that is what busses, trains and planes are for.

Alex Roth, an Arlington Heights, Illinois, native, trusted a riskier option to get him home — a ride from MU’s rideshare Facebook page.

“I was dropped off at the major train station in downtown [Chicago],” Roth said. “It was much simpler and cheaper than getting a plane or train ride back. The trip altogether was about eight hours … It was well worth the time because of the price and ease.”

The major downfall of this mode of transportation is the risk of a very awkward car ride and a terrible driver.

“The people I rode with were not bad — pretty quiet and respectful,” Roth said. “[The] driving could have been better, but it was fine. If it was my only option, which it was for me this past time, it is very tolerable and easy. I would not do it again, however, if I had the option.”

A frequently used method of transportation is the two-hour shuttle to either the St. Louis or Kansas City airports and then the subsequent plane ride home.

“I flew out of the St. Louis airport,” said Valeria Gil De Leyva, a Texas resident living in a suburb outside of Dallas. “[A plane ride] was easier than driving, and faster.”

Because Gil De Leyva opted to get home by way of plane, the trip took about three hours, rather than the eight hours it would have been if the trip had been by car. This time difference, in addition to the ease that Gil De Leyva faced in the airport, makes the decision of choosing how Gil De Leyva will travel home for winter break unquestionable.

There are many different variables to consider when choosing what method of transportation is best for you — time and cost, for instance, are huge factors to consider. Whatever you choose, make sure to be smart and cautious. If taking a plane, arrive at the airport with enough time to find your gate and relax, get the overpriced $20 personal pizza from California Pizza Kitchen, and do not ever lose sight of your carry-on luggage.

If taking a bus, call ahead to make sure that the bus is neither arriving early nor late — this will hopefully assure that you do not miss your bus or are not waiting hours for it to arrive. If going home with strangers in a rideshare or by yourself on a bus, plane or train, make sure to pack headphones and a book to keep you occupied. Lastly, travel safely and enjoy the needed time off from school work.

Edited by Katherine White |

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