Two years have passed, and we have done our best to cope with the cards that we dealt with. From the traditional academic setup, we were forced to be stuck at home. Attending online classes while sitting in front of our devices, from the moment we woke until our back began to hurt.
Undoubtedly, for us students, the pandemic has dramatically affected our lifestyle. Nonetheless, it is no shock that it is still a struggle for many.
Personally, the traditional teaching technique would be more effective with my focus and attention as a student. On the other hand, as someone from a different municipality miles away from the university, it is a bliss to avoid spending all those hours delayed in traffic getting to school.
But lo and behold, we are finally given the pass to physically enter the school this semester. Despite the fact that the experience only involved the face-to-face examination, the reality hit me hard; physical classes are back, and so are the terrible traffic jams and the endless commuter queue.
Unfortunately, this is the reality that most Filipino student commuters face almost daily, and honestly, public commuters in general. Many of us have to wake up early just to have enough time to prepare and start our commute. Some would leave their homes way before the sun has risen, even if their classes begin at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m.
To get home, many individuals need to run after a moving jeepney or wait in long lines that can take hours just to have their turn for a ride. Meanwhile, others would rather stand at the jeepney’s entrance and not have a seat so they can go home and rest after a long day. Sometimes, in the worst cases, we have to do this even under the rain.
Now, imagine a student who barely had any sleep studying for their next exam. Consider the hours allotted for the commute, which could have productively been used to rest or to read another chapter. Think of the meals that were skipped just to fetch a ride early in the morning or on the way home. This is the nightmare many student commuters face five times a week, maybe even more.
In life, getting to your destination is a journey that takes effort, patience, and time — with the traffic, literally and figuratively. But for those who have to take the long road, it entails a more significant challenge. This problem of ours has been here for decades, yet the solution is barely there or, at least, almost never felt. Indeed, it is saddening and frustrating to keep asking, “When is this traffic nightmare going to end?”