Commute back and forth to school is worth the trip for some students
For many college students, weekends are a time for relaxing, socializing, catching up on studying and working – usually just down the road.
But as soon as Morgan MacDermaid’s Friday class is over, she hops in the car and takes the four hour trip to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.
“Most people look at me like I’m crazy, but it pays the bills,” she said.
Since the summer of 2011, the Greenville junior has been employed at the amusement park. When her employer asked her this summer if she wanted to continue work as a Johnny Rockets waitress, she couldn’t say no.
“I leave on Fridays, usually around 2 or 3 p.m., and get down there by 7 or 8 p.m,” she said. “I work 12 to 15 hours on Saturday and around five hours on Sunday. I’m back in Mount Pleasant by 10 p.m. Sunday, just in time to start off my week again.”
But MacDermaid is not the only “crazy one,” she said. Her boyfriend, New Zealand freshman Mack Potter, works his weekends away at Cedar Point as well. She said it works out well because they can split gas and keep each other company. The two stay at Potter’s grandparents’ house about 20 minutes away from the park.
“Driving down late at night, I’m thinking to myself that it can’t be worth it,” Potter said. “But at the end of the weekend, when I’m counting my money I made, it’s totally worth it.”
Spending money on gas is the major downfall, but it could be worse, he said.
“My car is really good with gas, so I usually only spend $50 for gas a weekend,” MacDermaid said.
Although she spends more than eight hours in the car each weekend, she said the money is worth it.
“Put it this way, I can pay for an entire month’s rent with one weekend of work,” she said.
MacDermaid said she is missing out on her weekend, which feels nonexistent.
“It’s hard not being able to go to football games,” she said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever had to work weekends, so it’s hard not being able to see people.”
Cedar Point marks the first job the junior has ever had in college.
“It’s a pretty big adjustment,” she said.
The most important things is staying organized and taking it one day at a time, she said.
“It gets tiring but it’s also fun,” she said. “My planner is my best friend.”
MacDermaid’s week is filled with classes, organizations, clubs and studying as much as she can before the weekend hits.
“It’s really busy with school during the week,” she said. ”There’s no breathing time.”
Come November, MacDermaid said she will have her life back.
“This is just my life right now,” she said.
The couple aren’t the only ones making the drive home to make ends meet.
For Rochester senior Zoe Eickholdt, working as a bartender last school year at the Laffayette Grand Traveling Chef in Pontiac was her way of making money.
The two-hour drive to Rochester every weekend was worth it for the money, she said.
“I liked going home to work because I made better money than in (Mount Pleasant),” she said.
But as she moved up in her classes, Eickholdt said she didn’t have the time to travel home anymore.
“It’s stressful and a big commitment,” she said. “All that commuting time, plus working doesn’t leave much time for anything else.”
She said a major reason for working at home was keeping the seniority she earned.
“It was nice knowing I had something to go back to during the year, not just for the summer,” she said.
Spending time at home meant spending less time with friends in Mount Pleasant.
“I couldn’t do it right now,” she said.
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