As an new transfer student, I knew how college worked coming in. I knew that you should never procrastinate but inevitably will. I knew that you should get involved, check your email, go to the gym. I knew these things from my one year in college already. So why was I nervous coming to Rutgers? Why was there such anxiety on my first day?. Well… months of anxiety can be packaged into two words: the busses. .
The Rutgers busses have been made out to be the nightmare of the University. When I told my friends, family, and others about my decision to transfer here, their first reaction usually had something to do with the high mass of students I was sure to encounter- including how difficult it would be to travel from class to class due to this statistic. I talked to students, past and present who all warned me about (dun dun) THE BUSSES.
When I visited, I first noticed that all of the busses have different letters. I thought to myself that it would surely take my whole three years here to finally get it. The A, the C, the LX, REXB…what do these letters mean!? Are they places? Are they people? Are they a grouping of fossilized dinosaurs bones found on campus?! I must be missing out.
So, naturally, I did my homework. I downloaded the Rutgers App. I navigated NextBus.I knew that the colors of each stop described how soon the bus was coming and how quickly I had to move to depart on my desired route. Red means run. Orange means on time. Blue means there’s time for a bathroom break. I then realized that the stops are listed in order. I wrote a note in my phone describing where each bus goes. LX- Livingston to College Ave. H- Busch to College Ave. C- Commuter Loop around Busch. And the list went on. (A full description of routes can be found here: http://rudots.rutgers.edu/campusbuses.shtml)
September 1st came. This was the moment. My first independent interaction with the Rutgers ominous bussing system. I checked my notes to make sure I was going to the right place. I checked the app to see when my bus was coming. I arrived three minutes before my bus. I stepped on and despite the fact that we were like sweaty sardines packaged into a can- I felt relieved. I made it. The hardest part of the whole process was holding on around corners.
I want to change the stigma around Rutgers busses for incoming students. They are not bad. Yes, you will find something in you that makes you think you are Usain Bolt and can beat a bus. Sometimes you don’t make it but when you do, man, it’s inexplicable. Yes, you will get rejected from a packed bus, but again, when you make it on, there is some sense of accomplishment that you cannot describe.
I don’t see what all the hype is about. In fact, every time I go for a bus I have a little “pat on the back” moment. Whether I haul it over to the stop and make it, hold on and work my abs like they have never been worked before around corners, or get onto that bus with way more standees then that number on the side of the bus allows for; I feel like I can accomplish what every student has made out to sound so difficult. If you understand where each bus goes, download the app, and leave time for traffic and overpopulation, the busses are no hefty task, but one more thing you could say you “survived” at Rutgers University.