Kennesaw Student Commuter

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Graduation

Posted on: December 4, 2009

Although it doesn’t feel “real” yet, I’m scheduled to graduate from Kennesaw State on December 15. What this means, among other things, is that I will no longer be a student commuter.

I have mixed feelings about that. Of course waking up extra early in order to commute is less than awesome, but I really have come to appreciate the time spent alone in the car when I can clear my mind a prepare for (or decompress from) the school day.

I wonder if I will make the transition from being a student commuter to a work commuter. I haven’t concluded my job search yet, so I am uncertain where I will be working, and therefore whether or not I will have a long commute. The one especially good thing about all these years spent commuting is I’m not in any way hesitant to apply for work that will take place far from home.

One thing I won’t miss after graduation? Kennesaw State Parking. I’m so happy to pass that torch.

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I LOVE these shoes (left). I get a lot of questions about them when I’m out, especially at school so I’m going to give everyone the scoop. Everything from “Is that comfortable?” to “Are those real shoes?”

They’re extremely comfortable and yes, they are REAL shoes. I love them. They’re called Vibram Fivefingers.  According to the FiveFingers Web site you can also find them at Abbadabba’s in Kennesaw.

I purchased mine online a couple years ago  (and they’re still in great shape),  when they were more reasonably priced for a student’s budget.  Even at the current price of $80 they are a great value because they are so versatile and last for a very long time.  You can take them dirty places like camping or hiking without worrying about ruining your shoes.

I think what is most unique about these shoes is that you can throw them in your washing machine. This is really convenient for college students like myself who spend a an increasing amount of time racing through puddles to get to class lately. Just make sure you dry them the old-fashioned way, though.

199824927_96d798b589_mToday I read an article on CNN about “Going to the office . . . in Second Life“.

“As travel budgets are squeezed and slashed in the recession, companies are increasingly seeking innovative ways of bringing employees together for conferences and meetings remotely.

Virtual community Second Life is seeking to tap into that market by creating a new tool that allows businesses to have virtual meetings on their own computer networks.

The company’s Enterprise tool will let employees’ avatars — animated alter egos — meet in virtual worlds from the privacy of a company’s own network, rather than the public networks used in standard Second Life. That extra security could encourage more companies to take up the technology.”

Recession or not, I think this is an interesting way of having colleagues commute. As a current “student commuter” I often fantasize about leaving my hours on the road behind in favor of virtual commuting or online classes. I think about the environmental advantages, the money savings from car repairs and gasoline purchases, and sleeping in just a little longer (in fact, if Second Life were to catch on, I might not even have to wake up early enough to get out of my pajamas).

Fantasy aside, as a communication student I can really see the value in face-to-face interpersonal communication. I think, at this point, there is nothing online that can compete with the ability to understand, persuade, and inform interpersonally.

My ideal would be some equitable middle-point. To me that means people can, on occasion, meet virtually (perhaps on Second Life) for certain meetings and other gatherings, but still meet in person more often than not.

What do you think about new, emerging uses of online media?

KangarooHave you noticed the recent spike in gas prices? I remember just a week or so ago gas at my local Kangaroo station was about $2.20 and today it’s up to $2.49. I’m a gas-cynic so I tried to think of which upcoming travel holiday was responsible. Nothing came to mind and Columbus Day, while a federal holiday, just doesn’t bring road trips and getaways to mind. What gives?

Apparently I’m not the only one who noticed; the Associated Press had a story about it this morning. According to the article, the rise in prices has to do with a weak dollar and a decrease in production.

I guess the only silver lining is that the rise in prices held off until we don’t need to use our cars’ air conditioning much.

A couple evenings ago I left class and walked to the parking deck to find my poor Cavalier wedged between an SUV and a little sedan. They parked so close I don’t think I could even slide my hand in the door, much less the rest of me.

Now what? It occurred to me I have no idea what to do in this situation. Call campus police? So I went to the student center to get a snack hoping at least one of the cars would leave in the next few minutes. It worked, believe it or not. Whoever you are, thank you for moving.

As a final note, I’ll say what bothers me most is that the person parked on my passenger side would never have been able to exit their car on their driver side. They would have to know that they’ve parked way to close.

Please don’t trap my car.

According to The New York Times, President Obama signed an executive order yesterday banning federal employees from texting while driving.
“The order covers federal employees when they are using government-provided cars or cellphones and when they are using their own phones and cars to conduct government business.”

I don’t want to get too deep into politics on this blog, but I will say that texting while driving is a topic I feel strongly about. I don’t think anyone, however skilled at texting and/or driving, should try to type a message into a handheld device while they are in control of a potentially dangerous moving vehicle. Even if you trust yourself not to lose control or sway out of your lane, you cannot trust the drivers around you to not do something unexpected. I believe if your eyes and mind are on your phone, you may lose critical seconds that are necessary to react and avoid injury in such a case.

Because I drive around seven hours weekly for school alone, I have had plenty of opportunities to have “near misses” with drivers who, due to distraction or sudden mechanical failure, do something unexpected, causing me to need to adjust my driving quickly. You, no doubt, have seen plenty of these incidents during your travels as well.

With all of that said, I’m not necessarily in favor of or opposed to new laws to regulate which distractions drivers can and cannot engage in. I do think everyone should decide for himself that his safety, the safety of his passengers, and the safety of drivers or pedestrians around him, is more important than a conversation occurring 160 characters at a time.

What are your thoughts on the safety of texting while driving? Do you think laws are necessary?

I want to start off by saying I hope everyone is safe and dry after all the rain and flooding. Myself and my family were very fortunate, as most of the flooding was just to the north and just to the south of us. Even so, there were some fallen trees and water on the road, which I decided not to risk crossing in order to commute to school. (Luckily, this will only count as an absence for one of my classes, as Kennesaw State did eventually close its doors due to the flood). I just want to remind everyone, since there is still some potential for danger, that you should never ever drive over a flooded road. It takes a deceivingly small amounts of water to cause your car to be taken off the road by moving water and most drowning deaths during a flood occur within vehicles.

Inflexible attendance policies sometimes make students risk speeding, coming to school when we’re ill and contagious, and parking illegally… but just remember that nothing is more important than your life. It was a hard choice to make not to go to class when I was perfectly well and ready, but it was the right choice. Even if this absence were to cause me to fail the class I missed (it won’t, by the way) I know that it isn’t the end of the world. I hope the rest of you will keep that in mind and consider your safety above all else when you consider road conditions.



  • None
  • Lindsey: It could work... but like Tristan said, online or not, people will still be late or not show up, etc. But then again, I've done "half-breed" classes
  • Michael W. Ollinger: Using Second Life as a meeting tool is taking that particular technology a bit too far; it reminds me of that episode of the Office where the Stamford
  • Britney: I think new online media is very beneficial, especially in a university setting. Offering more online classes means less traffic, more room on campus

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