Commuting from the Chicago Suburbs

water tower horizontalMoving back home after graduating from college is a huge adjustment, especially if that adjustment includes the first year of law school.  I graduated from Indiana University last spring, and am currently living at home with my family in Burr Ridge, a western suburb of Chicago.  I’ll live there for the rest of my first year at Loyola, and then move downtown Chicago as a 2L and 3L.  I get asked a lot what it’s like to commute to campus everyday, and most people are surprised when I tell them that it’s not bad at all.

Every morning I catch the 8:27 am express Metra from the Hinsdale train station, which gets me to downtown Union Station around 8:50 am.  The non-express trains take almost an hour, so I avoid those at all costs.  Then, depending on the weather, I either walk five blocks to the Red-Line stop at Jackson, or catch the Blue-Line at Clinton which is just a block away from Union Station (students get a free U-PASS, good on all CTA train and busses with tuition).  From there, it’s an easy ride on the El to the Red-Line stop at Chicago Ave., which is on the same block as the law school.  You can download the “Transit Stop” app on your phone for live tracking of all CTA trains and busses. Typically, I’ll get to school around 9:20 am with plenty of time to grab a coffee and prepare for my 10:00 am class that morning.  On the average day, my door-to-door commute from the burbs to campus is around an hour.

The best advice I can give a student planning to commute would be to treat law school like a job; in the sense that once you get to campus in the morning, stay there until 5:00 regardless of how early your classes may end.  Treating your 1L year like a ‘9 to 5 job’ will force you to get most of your studying done while at school, and allow you to relax as much as possible once you get home.  (Plus, you won’t have to carry as many textbooks back and forth daily).

Initially, there were times when the last thing I wanted to do after spending an entire day in class and in the library was to deal with an hour-long commute home.  Since then, I’ve learned to really enjoy that hour as a chance to unwind and get my mind off of school.  Obviously, time management becomes essential in order to spend the commute relaxing opposed to cramming last-minute readings in for class.  At the end of the day, the home-cooked meals and money saved significantly outweigh the hour I spend commuting to and from campus.

One more note, there is an evening trip to Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center from the Water Tower Campus at 9:05 p.m. Monday through Friday during the academic year. A valid Loyola ID is required and must be shown to ride the shuttle.

If anybody has any specific questions about the commute to Loyola, feel free to shoot me an email: mkwasigroch@ [at] luc [dot] edu.

Michael Kwasigroch

Michael Kwasigroch

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