*there was a callout in the beginning, I didn’t know where to put that
By Anthony Ferrara
There are a lot of pressures and obstacles that come with being a commuter college student in New York City. One false move and there will be dire commuter consequences for Nineteen year old Tiffanie Galan. In fact, she knows this so well that she’s developed a system to prevent it, from the mean streets of Brooklyn all the way to the tree lined campus of the CSI. (There were minor edits to interview)
The Banner: Talk about your main route from your house to school.
Tiffanie: Okay so usually I take the b70 bus from 47th street and Eighth Avenue to the s93 bus on 86th and Fourth Avenue. From there the s93 will take me straight into campus, kind of near where the 1A building is. That route will normally take me around an hour and a half to make it from my house to school.
However it comes with a catch. The s93 is a limited bus. It stops running in the morning at 9:45. I always thought that that was the only way I could get to school and it took me a little while to figure out an alternate route. The one that I usually use starts with the D train at Fort Hamilton Parkway.
I take that train to 36th street where I get off and transfer to the R train. I get off the R train on 86th street and catch the s53 bus into Staten Island and from there I catch either the s61 or s62 bus to get to school. The alternate route takes me a bit longer. [Routes] all mixe and match. My commute did get much simpler once I figured out more than one way to get to school but that obviously comes with negative aspects. It’s a lot to handle sometimes.
The Banner: It does seem like a hassle. Speaking of your traveling requirements, tell us why you chose to come to CSI then.
Tiffanie: I’m a journalism major and I just recently declared a minor in english writing. I’d say that I chose these two things as a backup plan (pause); you know, a more realistic goal that I set for myself while I focused on music on the side. That’s my real passion. I love to sing and I love to write (songs).
I lived in Staten Island for a little while towards the end of high school over near Forest Avenue and Broadway so I was familiar with it. And I like Staten Island. I’ve never seen so many trees in one place! I think that it’s much cleaner than Brooklyn too (laughs).
It doesn’t get enough props for that. I didn’t get into Brooklyn College and I knew that CSI offered me a beautiful campus and was a low budget, high reward CUNY school. The transportation is something that I’m used to, so I make it work.
The Banner: So with that being said, how do you make it work financially?
Tiffanie: I was actually working in Staten Island last semester as a tutor through a program called SEEK, (Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge). However it wasn’t really worth it as I wasn’t really making much money there. I’m depending solely on financial aid now so that I could pay for my metrocard, food, books, and pretty much everything else.
I really need to use my money sparingly and be very wise about the decisions I make . I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make sure I don’t have to pay any extra money to get to CSI (laughs).
The Banner: Speaking of extra money spent, and being a commuter student, how do you feel about the Metrocard prices?
Tiffanie: It’s really annoying. It used to be $2.25. Now it’s $2.50, and it’s probably just going to continue to go up. If you have a transfer it’s only good for two hours. You can transfer from one bus to another. You can transfer from a bus to a train and a train to a bus but you can’t transfer from train to train. So if you have to take a train somewhere and then catch a train a few blocks away, you have to pay an extra fare. That makes no sense to me. An extra few dollars here or there adds up after a while.
The Banner: The price is one thing, but are there any particular memories that really stick out to you?
Tiffanie: One day last semester I had to go in on a day where the school was actually closed just to pick up some paperwork. I had to be in by nine in the morning so that meant I had to wake up at six. That’s because I’m getting ready, you know. I have to eat. I have to shower. I don’t want to be rushing around in the morning because that’s a horrible way to start your day.
I left by 7:30 to go catch the bus. Once I got to Staten Island it started snowing. I got to school and the actual task (picking up the paperwork) took all of five minutes! I waited 20 minutes for the loop bus to come around and take me to the front of the school. There I waited for the s62 bus to take me to Clove Road.
I waited at Clove Road for an hour. Keep in mind the snow was really picking up at this point and it was absolutely freezing outside! When I finally got back to Brooklyn I had to wait another half hour to catch the s70 bus that would actually take me home. It turned out being a six hour commute for something that took two seconds to actually do.
The Banner: With all that said, and with the transportation requirements being so demanding on you, do you regret your decision to go to CSI in the first place?
Tiffanie: I’m glad that I went [to CSI]. I like it so much. I feel like it was a good choice because I have gotten to meet people like Mellissa Seecharan and Fred Kaufman. I got an opportunity to go to the New York Times headquarters. There are a lot of good things that came out of going to CSI.
Now, with that being said, I know that I still have the option to transfer out at anytime and pursue my musical interests. But you know what, I’m so comfortable [at CSI] that I don’t really see myself transferring out. It’s not really about how far you have to travel or where you have to go. It’s what you make of it.