Brittany Ballantyne

Social Media Director


You hit the snooze button one too many times, the frost on your car windows is still melting and traffic is backed up from construction of Route 12, making arrival to class on time a gamble.

This is just one of the many possible situations a commuter student might deal with on a regular basis.

“There’s really only one good way to get here,” junior Dillon Hyland said, explaining that his drive from Bennington, N.H. takes 40 minutes without construction traffic.  Hyland has commuted to Keene State College for three semesters and does so because he’s a transfer student; meaning he isn’t eligible for certain financial aid at the college. For him, driving to and from campus is the only way he can pay for school.

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Junior Julia Oberst has commuted since her freshman year at KSC. Oberst and her brother, Forrest, also a KSC student, live in Alstead, N.H., which is about 35 minutes away. The two commute together, most of the time taking the same car. Oberst said she commutes to save money “because room and board is so expensive.”

Brandon Vose, a junior from Walpole, N.H. also commutes because it saves him money. Although he’s only been commuting for one semester, he said that in one semester alone the traffic due to construction the past three months has been “just awful.”

Oberst said she takes precautions when it begins to snow and the roads are terrible. “I always have to worry about that and also that takes extra time, so I have to plan ahead and leave earlier to avoid any weather concerns and traffic,” she said.

“Getting ready to leave, getting the car ready and then the whole drive kind of takes me two hours going to and from out of my day, it kind of diminishes the time I get to spend on work,” Oberst said.

Being an athletic training major, Hyland spends many hours in “clinical” where he assists athletes in everything from taping their ankles to working with them and their injuries.

While his classes are all morning classes that end at noon, he spends hours after classes doing homework and at clinical. Hyland said the weekends may differ for him depending on his schedule. If he has to work a game or work in clinical on a Saturday, he tries to stay in Keene on Friday night. “I [stay overnight] in Keene as much as possible,” he said.

Aside from the school aspect, Hyland also said driving home depends on whether or not he goes out on the weekend in the area.

Vose has a similar experience deciding if he stays in Keene for the weekends and explained that one or two days of the weekend, he might sleep on a friend’s couch.

“It [commuting] can be kind of isolating. Maybe not so much with school, but the friends–it can be a lot of money going back and forth,” he said when talking about seeing his friends and making plans to do so.

Oberst said, “It’s nice to get off campus sometimes, get away from the whole party scene once and a while but I would ideally like to be on campus, I’m realizing that more now.”

Hyland pointed out that if he chose to stay at home more often, his availability would be diminished. But since he’s so busy on campus, he’s more available to people that way. He is the secretary of the Sigma Pi fraternity as well as the chair for a new education committee and juggles meetings alongside school work, hours and commuting. When asked how he accomplishes this, he said, “I manage my time by making sure all those responsibilities are up to date.”

Oberst is part of the Honors Program, Honors Society and a couple clubs. “I make the time, that’s the priority. School is school and I have to be here, but usually I’m here most of the day,” she said.

To cut own on driving and gas, she stays in the area for the whole day if she’s needed around the campus.

“I like to stay as involved as I possibly can because college years, they mean a lot to me so I make them a priority,” Oberst said.

Vose plays intramural sports, therefore he has to look up schedules ahead of time. He explained that he had a game “the other night so [he] went home and had to come back and obviously, that starts accumulating as far as gas money.”

Not only does Oberst work around her own schedule, but she works around her brother’s as well. She explained that she shared rides with her older brother when he was a senior at KSC and is now following the same routine with her younger brother.

Oberst remembered that when her older brother and she would share rides, he was much busier than she was and noticed that she has now taken on the role of the busier older sibling when compared to her younger brother. As far as teachers go, Hyland said they’re pretty lenient if he’s ten or 15 minutes late to class in the morning.

“They [professors] understand that I’m driving,” he said. Vose, on the other hand, said, “I would say they don’t even give a thought, it’s not like I went up to them and told them.”  Some teachers will cancel classes last minute, and Oberst said to her, that’s an inconvenience “because if I’m already here, I’ve already used the gas.”

Getting to class on time and well prepared is different for those students who commute compared to on-campus or close to campus students. Hyland mentioned that some mornings, he has to print something before an 8 a.m. class and risks getting to the library on time to print sometimes.  “I get up that much earlier than my classmates and get home that much later,” he said.

Hyland recommended other commuters “stay in Keene as much as possible, because not only is it going to help you catch up with sleep, it’s going to keep your gas costs down and I would say to make sure you manage your time effectively, make sure you always designate time during the day where you can study and get work done because you’re gonna have less time than other people in your class.”

Vose said, “Be ready to spend solid 12 hours on campus.”


         Brittany Ballantyne can be contacted at


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