By Kaleb Lucero ’18
It’s well known fact that students come to Brophy from all over the Valley, but what are some of the adverse effects of these long commutes on student health and success?
What pressure does it put on sleep, extracurricular participation, family and schedule flexibility?
One of the biggest issues that Cameron Grams ’17, Conn Den-Boer ’17 and James Ruberto ’17 all say they face sleep deprivation.
One reason for this is that the workload can pile up, and it can be hard finding time to do homework, Ruberto said.
Ruberto lives 75 minutes away from school, and he said he is unable to work on anything during the two and a half hours a day that he spends in the car.
“I don’t sleep much,” he said. “You really have to manage your time and look ahead so you can plan when you’re going to do your work.”
Since he cannot work in the car, and usually does not get enough sleep at home, Ruberto said that sometimes he sleeps in the car to make up for working late into the night.
Den-Boer said he has a similar problem and that he wakes up at 5:30 a.m. and drives anywhere between 45-70 minutes get to campus. He said any sort of event after school causes him to stay up late to do work.
Even without some sort of activity after school, Den-Boer said that on average, he gets about five to six hours of sleep a night.
Another reason for student commuters’ lack of sleep is that students have to get up earlier to get to school, and this, paired with zero hour classes or morning extracurriculars, can push the time that students wake up much earlier than normal.
“It’s dreadful,” Grams said, who has morning hockey practice and lives 70 minutes from Brophy. “My alarm is set to 4:00 in the morning on those days. It makes me very sleep deprived during the school year and makes it a whole lot more difficult.”
Extracurriculars are a whole other problem, as it can be difficult getting a ride after school. Plus, they also push back the time when a student can get home and start work.
Den-Boer said that before he was able to drive, transportation to and from after school activities posed a huge problem to him, especially since he used to rely on a carpool.
“It’s difficult to find someone who’s into the activities you’re into and also lives near you,” he said.
If he did want to stay late, he had to also ask his carpool to stay late.
“It’s almost like being tied down extracurricularly,” Den-Boer said.
Ruberto said he couldn’t participate in zero hour classes or a whole lot of after school activities, since he relies on his mom most days to get to and from school.
One class, for example, that he said he wanted to participate in was the ACT prep class, which goes from 7-8 a.m., meaning that he and his family would have to be out of his house at 5:45 for him to get there in time.
“I didn’t participate in that,” he said. “I really wanted to, but that would have been too much on me and my family.”
Grams said that he’s struggling with the Junior Service Project because of the drive, and that aside from hockey, extracurriculars are out of the question for him right now.
Another issue with long commutes is the lack of flexibility it brings to a student’s day.
“It requires a ton of planning your schedule,” Ruberto said. “You can’t really have much flexibility when your ride is an hour away. You can’t call and say ‘hey Mom, can you come and pick me up’ and then she’s there in five minutes.”
He said that this causes him to miss some things after school, since his carpool leaves at 3:00 and it’s a two-hour commitment for his family to come pick him up.
“My family does the best they can. I’m able to do most things,” Ruberto said.
He said that a lot of it comes down to preparing his schedule, so that his mom can plan her day around that as well.
“You have to plan what you’re doing in your day so that you can plan your rides,” Ruberto said.
Den-Boer, when speaking of his carpooling days, said that he actually liked carpooling, since it was pretty steady and consistent. However, he also said that it was a rigid schedule.
“In the end it’s difficult, it’s sort of a burden,” Ruberto said. “It’s something I have to deal with and plan for that not everyone has to deal with.”