If there’s one thing which unites all UCD students it’s that we all have to get to college! That journey to college, may vary in length or in difficulty, but we all need to fill that time somehow! So, to help you fill your commute, we decided to tell you about our journeys to UCD; travelling from homes scattered across the country, in bus journeys we all feel are way too long! Here are our commuting stories…
When one lives at one end of the infamous 39A bus route and attends college at the other, the journey can (most insultingly) take longer than travelling from a different county.
This is the struggle that one can expect:
To attend a 9 am lecture in the cold dreary winter requires immense self-control. First, one must coax themselves out of their bed at 6:00 am, overpack their bag until it humiliatingly resembles a toddler’s rucksack, inhale some food (do not skip this step as it will result in an injured bank account) and run to the bus stop for 6:40.
Naturally, the cursed 39A will veto the effort of your waking up early to avoid the traffic and refuse to show up, resulting in the next bus pulling up at 7:00, already packed with people. Then, one must board a full bus and attempt to find a seat upstairs, to be stared at by 50 children and hobble embarrassed, back downstairs.
Finally, when the bus does arrive at UCD, you can run to class with your cramped legs. If only the journey ended here, however when one lives at the end of the 39A bus route, one also works there. Now you must hop back on the bus at 3 pm, to sit for another 2 and a half hours, resulting in a sore and flat arse to make it in time for your 6 pm closing shift, for which you had to drag your work uniform to class, change partially on the bus and shuffle to work.
By Maria Harten
The Inter-County Commute:
As the second semester is fast approaching, some are thrilled by the prospect of reuniting with friends, while others long for the arrival of summer. Meanwhile, many face the inescapable reality that the second semester is just around the corner.
Reactions range from cool stoicism to one of dread, and all responses are justified. However, there are a few who find solace in curling up into a ball and sobbing. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce myself; I am one of those ‘few’.
Although the thought of enduring additional assignments adds to this misery, it’s not precisely my primary concern. Instead, my issue lies in the 5:45 am wake-up calls to commute from Dundalk to Dublin in the darkness of winter mornings for a 9 am lecture.
If you felt my pain, I appreciate your camaraderie, truly. However, let’s be honest; the snooze button is a friendly companion, but not one you should keep for too long if you aim to be more disciplined…and early. Of course, I don’t follow my own advice.
Most mornings I dash out the door for the 7 am bus, forgetting a paraphernalia of commuting necessities: my headphones (the worst), my lunch (water for lunch it is) and my phone charger for a phone that inevitably runs out of energy upon arrival.
Although the commute is generally a one-hour commute, M1 traffic and the horrors of Dublin traffic will extend it to two excruciatingly slow-moving hours. During these times, I am witness to expletive-laden road rage and, too often, near-road accidents, reinforcing my conclusion that many should not be in possession of a licence or a vehicle of any kind.
Despite my relentless efforts to arrive early for my 9 am lecture, I find myself reaching the UCD campus at 9:10 — cold, groggy, irritated and running on an empty stomach, getting ready to walk into a lecture with the scrutinising glare of a hundred faces due to my tardiness. If only they knew I had genuinely tried to be early.
By Kendra Onuorah
The 5 am Start:
There are few experiences that rival the dismay of discovering a 9 am lecture on your timetable. This is particularly agonising to students like me, who live just too close to need student accommodation, but not close enough.
The brutal reality of a 9 am lecture means a 5:45 am alarm ringing. Some mornings prove more challenging than others, braving the cold winter air while the rest of my family remains fast asleep for a little longer. I tiptoe around the house in the hopes that I don’t wake anyone.
I load up the car with necessities – breakfast, lunch, chargers, and layers of clothing.
By 6:15 am, I hit the road, teeth chattering as my little green Nissan struggles to warm up and clear the mist from the windows for the first 30 minutes of the trip. Surprisingly, the distance isn’t the worst part of the commute; it’s crawling along at less than 50 km/h on the motorway.
Surrounded by traffic, my thoughts are consumed by all the money I’m losing as my petrol burns and burns but I get no closer to college. Rarely, a day goes by without witnessing a collision or someone’s bad case of road rage too. I arrive at campus at around 8 am, distraught if my favourite spot in the Ashfield car park has been taken. My social battery is still depleted so I stay in the sanctity of my car, sipping my cup of tea and wolfing down a bowl of granola I packed for the day ahead.
By the time the clock strikes 10 am at the end of the first lecture, it’s as if the college day is nearly over, when in truth, it’s merely beginning, and I have many more lectures ahead.
By Saoirse Wilson
Commuting. The act of travelling some distance – usually a long one – between one’s home and one’s place of work regularly. At 7 am, I daydream about how lovely it would be to live in the flashy on-campus accommodation of Belgrove and Glenomena before being whisked back to the rainy reality as my coach pulls into one of many nonexistent bus shelters in the area.
A whole fifteen minutes late, might I add. I board and, in spite of the inconvenience, I’m grateful to be at the first stop along this route. I couldn’t imagine having to board six stops later and deliberate whether to sit next to the stressed businessman, the light of his open Macbook preventing a much-needed nap, or the eccentric elderly lady chatting away to the driver.
Student leap cards are another thing I’m grateful for in these depressing circumstances – the thought of having to pay €75 every week as opposed to the discounted student option is enough to keep me awake and sweating at night.
I tune into SZA on Spotify as we pull onto the motorway, the pink of a gorgeous sunrise poking through the trees. The rivers going by shimmer like a beetle and all this romance in nature makes me feel I actually might be able to do it. That is until the bus radio bleeds into my earphones, a news reporter detailing two collisions along this very road, heavy traffic before the Port Tunnel as well as protests in Dublin City. Great. It’ll be a miracle if I can get there in time for my 9 am French. Sorry, did I mention I got this bus at seven? And I’m due to arrive on campus after ten? What a joke.
I endure four fifty-minute classes on minimal energy when my friend informs me of a cool society event we could attend in the afternoon, immediately raising my spirits. We end up having great fun, playing games and meeting new people, until it comes time to make another nightmarish journey home.
As I make my way into the frightening city centre at 8 pm via the 46A, I am just overwhelmed by the generosity of coach companies in providing the most infrequent transportation. I dodge past revellers and skirt multiple bags of rubbish, making it to Connolly Station, just in time for the train home.
My eyes flicker profusely with sleep and the leather seats across from me, worn and occupied by the ghosts of past commuters, jostle about. I mentally prepare myself to do both three-hour journeys again tomorrow.
Commuting. A north side UCD student’s worst nightmares combined into one volatile bus, car or train ride.
By Madeleine Houssou
The Sleeper Build:
Throughout my four years of study in UCD, my main complaint was the commute. Those twenty hours – on a good week – of inane bus journeys threatened to slowly strangle the life out of my college experience.
What made it worse, is that I don’t even live that far from campus… only 8.77 km as the crow flies from my doorstep to the lakeside coffee cart! Yet it still took two hours each way, every day for four years.
For me, 9 am lectures meant 6am, 6:02, 6:05, 6:10, 6:21am starts depending on how many times I hit that snooze button. I am not a morning person; all my college work, Tribune work and motivation take place after the sun goes down. So, my days looked like this:
Wake up to the smell of bacon wafting into my room… who am I kidding? I skip breakfast, the 6:44 bus is coming!!! Run to the bus stop five minutes early, wait at the stop, wait at the stop… wait at the stop? Never mind then, the 7.14 bus it is – until I look at the traffic building up on the main road.
As the rain starts, I give up and run to the DART. I pack onto the steaming carriage, with the smell of wet clothes and the sound of TikTok scrolling without headphones. Check the time, it’s 7:44. Doing the maths, it’s looking good so far! That Economics lecture isn’t mission impossible!
Then it happens… the DART stops for, seemingly, no reason just after Clontarf Road. The memories of missed lectures still haunt me whenever the carriages lurch to a stop on that stretch.
Eventually, we arrive into town and I run to Nassau Street, passing a plethora of coffee shops with their tantalising smell of that wonderful caffeinated bean water that I love so much. This time, I successfully run the gauntlet of temptation while checking my watch – how is it 8:11 already? Now comes the dice roll; will the 39A forsake me? Will a 145 roll by to drop me within touching distance of my macroeconomics lecture?
I jump on the first bus I see, a 46A, but as it trundles down Leeson Street I start to wonder if I’d be faster getting out and walking. I stick the course and after a quick scroll of then-Twitter, we make progress through Donnybrook and begin to drive past the Bus Terminus. To my dismay, the bus pulls into the nearest stop, the lights go out, the engine turns off and I am in for a 10-minute wait as the drivers swap over. The minutes on my watch rapidly tick along, far faster than they usually do – 8:38, 8:43, 8:48!
One minor freakout later, the bus gets going again and I’m jumping off at Montrose – “THANKS!” – and running into my lecture. Just barely on time and with no time for coffee, I promptly fall asleep in the front row and get woken up by my friend Ann. I had snored. Lecture over and after vowing never to show my face in the economics department again, I finally grab a coffee and get to working on the actually important part of UCD, The Trib!
Suddenly it’s exactly 9.44pm and the security guard is kicking me out of a certain Newman basement office as the alarm starts sounding. I run to the bus ready to start the whole commute again.
By Hugh Dooley
An ode to the forever departed
You said you’d be here.
And so I came.
I wait for you.
Sighing through the decade-long minutes, remembering the last time.
I freeze. A silent scream watching as you float, twirling in your indigo-saffron robes
dissolving into the Montrose twilight.
Was the saltwater on my cheek from eye or cloud?
Now blind faith compels me to believe:
You didn’t mean to abandon me
I was just too keen.
But when will you return to take me home
By Lisa Hall *this poem was written before the recent demise of the route.