March 23, 2015

Day in the Life of a UMD Freshman - Esben Jepsen (Commuter)

Accepted to UMD? Congrats! Not sure if it’s the right choice for you? Curious about how a typical day for a freshman might be? Well then, read on! This is part three of the Day in the Life series.

Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Today, Esben Jepsen, a mechanical engineering major and commuter, will be sharing how his Monday went. He's in the Scholars Environment, Technology, and Economy program, and he'll also us give his opinion on commuting. 

Can you give us a breakdown of your day?

6:30 AM - Wake Up

I wake up. I lie around a while and try to desperately remember if I have any homework that's due. Then I get up, eat breakfast, pack my lunch, charge my appliances, and get it all together.

7:45 AM - Leave Home

I leave my house and start driving. It's about a 30-45 minute drive from Howard County. On the way, I listen to audio books, which passes the time very well. It's like reading in the car without the added danger of not looking at the road. 

8:10 AM - Get to campus

I get to campus. It took 35 minutes today, but the traffic wasn't bad. I park at Lot 6, up on a hill on the fringe of campus. Lot 6 isn't far from my classes by bike, though (or by fast car or homemade helicopter either). I park in my usual spot and bike to my first class. Biking lets me get to any part of campus within 5 minutes. The bike is light and compact, and you can dodge buses and angry drivers faster than you probably could with a Camry, not to mention avoiding the traffic. It's kinda cold and dangerous when it's dark and snowing, but we invented lights and jackets for those very reasons. I lock up my bike in the parking garage overnight and over the weekends at the designated bike stands. Always use a U-lock, and never try locking the wheels. Those are detachable, and a good deal less expensive than a bike.

9:00 AM - Calc 3

We did some mathy stuff (we listened to mathy stuff, at least, but even listening is enough when you've got a Greek professor who is more animated than Megamind (the movie) and twice as interesting).

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Time Between Classes

Between my classes, I usually watch YouTube, worry about long-term projects, and relax. The last two don't usually go together unless I'm in a good mood.

12:00- 2:00 PM - ENES (Intro to Engineering and Design)

We built circuits and programmed them to respond to stimuli like light and voltage (so stuff that's actually relevant to engineering, fun, and challenging - who'da known?) 

2:00 PM - Lunch

I pack my own lunches. It's fast and cheap. I made it just how I like it, unless I get it wrong. I calmly blame the cook and keep eating. Usually, my lunch is supplemented by a chocolate muffin the size of my fist. Mmm.

3:00 PM - Physics (Mechanics)

We finished up concepts of ideal-gas heat engines and started in on waves.

5:00 - 6:15 PM - Scholars Plenary

There was a presentation by Unilever (they own Dove, Axe, and Vaseline) on sustainability. There were free samples of free shampoo, deodorant, and Q-tips!) Freebies of the month is a thing here.

6:15 - Drive back home

I usually leave campus at 5 pm, but since there was a presentation, I went home later. The traffic in the evening is reliably worse than the morning traffic, but still manageable. Sometimes the traffic is bad, but not annoyingly often. The traffic is reliably about 10% worse than the chances of precipitation, so watch out for snowy days!

7:10 PM - Back home

Once I get home, I watch more YouTube videos and eat dinner. I also might do some homework. (I do homework on Tuesdays and Thursdays where I only have one or two classes, and also over the weekend, of course).

Additional Questions

Do you like commuting overall? 
It's pretty dope.

Would you recommend commuting?
     Probably. Gas prices are lower than room + board, but communication with friends is a bit more difficult. Schoolwork is the same, if not easier (no graded homework in Calc, though Mastering Physics is still reliably and predictably a terrible site). I don't have to deal with weird roommates, there's free food from home, and I've got my own car to drive around. It's not the lifestyle for everyone though.

Favorite part(s) of UMD? Chocolate muffins, relevant projects, actual delays, and free days (unlike UMBC!), and (this year at least) teachers with accents and a bit of style who actually care.

There's the general  saying that first year students have a harder time making friends/settling in. Is that accurate in your case? 

     I've got friends, but I don't see them too often. Probably mostly the fault of my good friend apathy, a rigorous approach to schedules, and a desire to beat the traffic, but the drive is still a factor. Settling in only took as long as memorizing where the classes are. Otherwise, I've been mostly avoided by suspicious and/or maniac types, and I've been getting enough sleep (except on Saturday nights).

Does commuting affect your involvement on campus? With clubs, for example?
     Sometimes, they just don't happen. Sometimes, club times don't really work know, you want to make games at Video Game Club, but you also don't want to spend 5 hours twiddling your thumbs and getting a parking ticket while waiting for the club to start. Yes, this actually happened. I actually did get put off from going to more club activities because I once got a $75 ticket for parking my car in my usual spot during a basketball game (DOTS makes you move your car during games, and I forgot). So...yeah.

Thanks Esben!

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