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Commuting time

How much time do you spend commuting to work/school every day?  How much would you consider too much time?

The reason I ask is because I've gotten into a master's program at a school about 75-90 minutes from where dh and I live.  I'm still very young (22), so I would like to finish all my school now instead of going back when I'm older, and especially in today's job market I think a master's degree would help me distinguish myself a lot more.  The problem is, my dh has a good job where we live, and where the university I got into is he wouldn't have that opportunity (we live in the closest big city to the university, which is in a college town).  I would be going against traffic both ways, so that wouldn't be a problem, and I could make it where my schedule is only school 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday).  Do you think that it's too long of a drive?

The longest commute I've ever had to work/school is 20 minutes, so I'm not really sure what I'm getting myself into.  It would only be for 2 years (and only late August to early December, and January to early May), but I can't decide if the commute is going to be too much.  My dh says it's completely my decision.

So, has anybody made a commute like that before and what is it like?


Re: Commuting time

  • Hi,

    I have a pretty long commute.  I drive 45 minutes in both directions to work.  Also, I'm going to grad school starting in July and the only school with the program I want is an hour and 15 min. away from my house.  I work closer to the school, so I plan on driving to the university a couple of times of week after work, and then the drive home will be the long one.  But, the way I look at it is, it's only for a couple of years and it's an important thing to me, so it's worth the commute. 

    As for my daily 90 minute commute, it really does not bother me.  I don't have kids, so I'm sure that has a lot to do with it.  I enjoy driving and find it relaxing on the way home to just drive and listen to music.

    I think it's smart of you to try to finish school now and since you're not working, I don't think that schedule will be that bad.  Just keep reminding yourself that it's only temporary.

    Good luck.

  • Where did you get accepted?

    It will be very hard since your core classes are likely MWF or TR.  Lots of driving but could be worth it.  It's easier if you can get a Tues night class.  When I was doing my masters at Sam Houston, I had a Thurs night class 45 min away down 45.  I carpooled with several others in my program so it wasn't too bad.

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  • Get the masters - who cares about the commute. You can make it work right? I commuted to get my masters on Saturdays while working full time. It took me about an hour each way but it was well worth it.

    GL! Just go! You'll regret it if you don't. 

  • I personally couldn't have that long of a commute.  I don't like driving long distances by myself.  However, if it doesn't bother you and you can afford the gas, go for it.
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  • The only thing that would prevent me from doing it would be snow & the potential for bad roads... but it's unlikely you have that issue so I say go for it!  :)  Good luck!
  • It takes me just over an hour to get to school. And that is everyday, monday to friday. Maybe you could put together a carpool, that's what I do. Me and 2 other girls takes turns driving so it isn't so bad.
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  • H lives about 2 hours away from the school I go to.  I got an apartment in the college town.  It was actually cheaper than gas every day, plus the convenience factor for me.  It would suck for all my labs, which are at night, and group projects always seem to meet late.  I don't have to get up at 4:30 every morning to make it to school on time either.
  • image Angeldcf:

    Where did you get accepted?

    It will be very hard since your core classes are likely MWF or TR.  Lots of driving but could be worth it.  It's easier if you can get a Tues night class.  When I was doing my masters at Sam Houston, I had a Thurs night class 45 min away down 45.  I carpooled with several others in my program so it wasn't too bad.

    I live in Houston and I got accepted to A&M (College Station).  It's really the best around here for the program I want to do, and U of H, Rice, and others closer don't have that M.A. 

    I've actually never been to College Station before (I did my undergrad at UT... I know, I know... I'm a total traitor! :) ).  My dh is also suggesting that we could move half way between so that he could commute 30-45 minutes toward Houston, and I could commute 45 minutes to College Station.  I don't really want to do that because then my dh would be travelling in traffic.

    I really want my M.A., now when I have no kids or no serious job to hold me down.  I need an M.A. for my dream job, and this is something I really want to get done.  I guess the more I type the more I realize that I've pretty much already made up my mind...

  • My only concern would be the back highways.  From Huntsville to College Station, we took SH 11 (I think, it's been a few years) and it was 2 lane highway, infamous for accidents involving deer jumping out.

    Depends on where you are in Houston regarding time. 

    Given your life situation, go for it!  It's a short-time commitment in the long run and would be much more difficult later on with kids and full-time job.

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  • I say to go for it. You can do it. It's only for two years. I commute one hour each way and sometimes it's a drag but you really do get used to it. I download NPR shows onto my iPod and listen to them or in the morning I just think (I'm not a morning person).

    It sounds like your H is very supportive and that is great. The time will go quickly. Good for you for thinking it all through!

  • I commuted to school by train for about that time (1x a week) .. my 7:20 AM  train got me to class on time at 9 AM (train + subway + walk).  I drove 50 minutes each way (opposite traffic) for a few years for a job ... and 45 minutes in brutal traffic for another job for a few years.

    If you're motivated you can probably make it work.  You may even get creative and find a friend nearby and stay over on occasion .. or move a little bit closer.  The thing about school is that it seems like forever .. but it ends up going quickly.

    The school year is different from real life, too.  You'll have breaks and time off.  Do what my mom did and read your notes into a tape recorder and study in the car.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • image Angeldcf:

    My only concern would be the back highways.  From Huntsville to College Station, we took SH 11 (I think, it's been a few years) and it was 2 lane highway, infamous for accidents involving deer jumping out.

    Depends on where you are in Houston regarding time. 

    Given your life situation, go for it!  It's a short-time commitment in the long run and would be much more difficult later on with kids and full-time job.

    It looks like it's 290 and Hwy 6 all the way up there (from the map I'm looking at).  It won't be difficult to just hop on the freeway... but deer jumping out scares me!  I used to live up in the DFW area and I would drive 45 S to Houston, and when it was late at night without too many people that drive would always scare me. 

  • Wow, you described almost verbatim what I just did for my masters! We had also just gotten married, husband had a job he loved close to where we decided to live, and I commuted exactly 90 minutes to D.C. and 90 minutes back from D.C. three times a week. ?I ended up taking an accelerated program (finished my Master's in 11 months) and just finished it this past August. ?Here's what it was like for us:

    - The first three weeks or so were really rough. ?I had a hard time adjusting to the commute (I was used to driving 15 minutes tops to campus). ?I sincerely wanted to quit after the third day of travel, but decided to stick it out at least through the semester. ?By week five, I would say I was used to it, and by week six, I was more focused on my classes and projects than the commute.

    - Close to the middle and end of the terms, I stressed a lot more because a lot of group projects were due and, as most of my group mates were much closer to school, I often had to arrange being in the city for group meetings. ?You can usually get a lot of it done online, but some things- like putting together presentations or study groups- you'll need to be on campus for. ??

    - When it was icy or froze, I did miss some classes- don't know how much that's an issue in TX, but there was a string of weeks where I was missing one or two classes because bridges between my home and school were closed, or there were accidents or bad weather that affected my area and not where my classmates were. ??

    -Don't know if you're new to the area where ?you and your DH are living now or from another area of TX, but I was new to this area and I've really struggled with making friends. ?When I was in school, I made friends with people in D.C. because I was always in school there, but I lived too far away to really hang out on weekends- I might meet for dinner after class, but that was about it. ?Now that school is over, I feel like I'm still "new" to the area I live in, because I just now have the time to hang out and meet people where I'm living. ?Just something to be conscious of if you are new to the area you're in now.

    - DH and I found it helpful to really schedule frequent "dates" to reconnect, because since some of my classes were night classes, we would sometimes see each other for five minutes in the am when I left for my internship and about fifteen minutes when I came in at night and crashed into bed. ?Didn't have to be big, but we started, for example, having a "sub night" once a week where we would watch a short episode of a show we'd recorded to watch together and DH would order subs to be ready when I got home. ? When our schedules were really off (he worked during the day and I took classes at night) we also left each other notes on a pad in the kitchen counter about what we were doing or had done that day, reminders, I love yous, etc. ?I saved them all and they're kind of fun to read now!

    - All that said- I absolutely wouldn't change it and I'd do it over again (though I might push to live a little closer to school and a little farther from DH's work). ?You will be so happy to get your Masters and get it done, especially before you get out of the "groove" of going to school, and it will make you more competitive in the job market. ?Go for it!?

    Sorry to type so much, just wanted to share my experience so hopefully you would be more prepared for some of these things than I was, and hope some of the things that helped us will help you too. ?Good luck!?

  • The commute would be a temporary state. Go for it.
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  • I am from the National Capital Region - where people drive/train from West Virginia to DC every day.  My work was literally 5 miles away from my home - my commute time 30 minutes each way, due to traffic.  My first job was 11 miles away with a 40 min drive each way.

    You DO what you have to DO.  

    Plus, have you researched how many of your classes you can take on-line?  This could cut down your need to commute.

  • you can make it work....but it does get to be a PITA>

    I live over an hour from my workplace.  SO I spend an hour+, each way, driving there 4 days a week.  And that means, during the week, we see very little of each other...but we manage it fine.

  • I agree you can make it work.  Although it will probably feel pretty exhausting at times, remember it's temporary.  I've done the long commute before (round trip 2 hours to 2 hrs, 15 mins.) for work 5 days a week, so I feel for you. 


    I would also take into account how long your days are going to be as well, particularly how late you'll be driving.  When I was in grad school and working full time, there was a classmate of mine who had a similar commute to yours who fell asleep while driving back from class (prob. around 10:30-11:30 PM at night) and totaled her car.  Thankfully, she wasn't hurt, but she actually decided to rent an apartment closer to work/class during the week.  That's extreme, but if sleep is going to be a factor, maybe adjusting your class or work schedule could be an option.


    Best of luck!  Congrats on your program!

  • It takes me an hour in the morning and an hour in the evenings. My job is only about 35 miles away but traffic is just so awful.

     I've been doing this for three years now and I'm about over it, but I also use it as my "alone" time. As a mother of twins, I don't get a lot of that.

    I would definately try it, especially if it's only for a relatively short time period.

  • It takes me an hour and 20 mins to get to work.  I've been commuting for 13 years now (yikes!).

    It all started when I went back to school at 24, and it took 50 minutes to get to the campus.  It was what I wanted to do and worth it to obtain my degree. 

    The main downside of commuting is thattime taken away due to the commute, BUT, I use that time to listen to my music and prepare myself mentally for my day.  The COL is higher if we were to move so I am happy with the decision I made. 

    Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment

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  • Thank you all very much!  I'm going to go for it, because the pros outweigh the cons so much.  I'm going to try and avoid night classes as much as possible, and look into any online class alternatives.  I actually have a great uncle who lives right near campus (he was actually a professor and department head at that university for a long time... but in a subject completely opposite mine!), so if I ever need to stay overnight for some reason I have family there. 

    Thank you all for your advice... it's good to know there are others who have successfully done this, and for a long time! :) 

  • It took 1-130 hours one way just to get to school for the past three years of my undergrad , now that I have a car and a senior its great that it only takes 10-20min.

     Just go for it, who cares about the commute its the degree thats important.

  • I drive 50 min. each way every day to work for 25 yrs. My DD started commuting to school in 7th grade thru 12th grade for a great education.

    Absolutely GO FOR IT. You can do anything for  a short time, a masters is worth it! Good Luck & Congratulations.

  • Ah.. I used to live 1 hour from work one way.. so that was 2 hours total of drive for a day.

    Well... don't forget to think about the time it takes to:

    actually get out of bed

    get ready

    do last minute check online for any cancellations and such

    It takes me 1 hour to get ready and took me 1 more hour to get to work. I did fine especially since it was a seasonal job (april to september). It also took 1 more hour to get back. 3 hours all together JUST FOR WORK outside of work.

    I think you will do fine as long as you have a place to crash on the way back if you get really tired from studying so much. There were few nights after working 14 hrs that I should haven't drove all the way home. The other good thing is there should be few breaks from school during the year so that will help you. I'd completely go for it if I had the opportunity to do it.  

  • I used to drive 1 hour each way to work.  If it was 1.5 hours, it was unbearable - but that was b/c it was full of traffic.  If I were DRIVING and not stop and go, it probably wouldn't be so bad.

    I would go for it.  If the commute starts to wear you down, think of alternatives, like online courses, or even paying someone a small amount so you can sleep on their couch 2-3 nights a week (arrive Sunday night, meet with study group, sleep, go to class, drive home). 

    One thing - I would NEVER drive when I was tired after a long day.  I know so many people who were in crashes (sadly, some fatal) because they drove while tired.  That is NEVER worth it!!!  If you have a long schedule/day, then I would rent a room and svck up the money before I drove home sleepy.

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