The Uni commute: Rural students at Uni High
Published: Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 2:46pm
Uni High’s reputation for high academic standards has made the school well known around Central Illinois. For many students, the school is an appealing alternative to standard public high schools. As a result, there is a steady influx of students from far outside the Champaign-Urbana community, who in some cases live as far away as Effingham or Decatur.
Sophomore Brigitte Dietz, for example, lives in Sigel, Il. Sigel is a small town, located only 20 minutes away from Effingham and an hour and a half away from Uni.
Freshman Kari Schwink and sophomore Brooks Hauser both commute to school from Longview, IL. Longview is 25 miles away from Urbana, but according to Schwink, depending on the weather and other factors, it can take her up to an hour to get to school. She says that, for her, the toughest thing about the varying times is that there is always a possibility of being late because her family can never accurately judge how long the drive will take on any given day.
Hauser, who lives on the outskirts of Longview, says he is used to traveling to Champaign-Urbana for school as he attended Next Generation school in Champaign from fifth to seventh grade.
Similarly, Dietz says she doesn't really mind the drive to school because she uses it to sleep. She says that originally she tried to do homework, but instead she decided to use her three hours a day in the car to catch up on lost sleep.
Hauser agrees and says of his car rides, "[They're for] nap time [and] study time."
Schwink also attempts to do homework during her ride to school to lessen the loss of homework time. However, to do her homework in the car, Schwink says she must battle motion sickness, which reduces her productivity during this period.
Dietz, Hauser, and Schwink all come from small towns of fewer than 400 people. Between them, their opinions on living far away from where they attend school differ.
Although the drive does not bother her, Dietz says the fact that her friends live over seventy miles away does. She says she would much rather be able to hang out with her friends in Champaign-Urbana than live in such a secluded place with few people her age.
Hauser sees both pros and cons to living far away from where he attends school. He says one of the best things about living outside of the Champaign-Urbana community is the change of atmosphere.
"You physically get away from the pressurized atmosphere that the university setting can sometimes create," he says.
However, living in isolation in what he refers to as “the middle of nowhere” comes with a price.
"Sometimes it would be nice if the closest store wasn't ten miles away,” Hauser says.
Schwink echoes the sentiments of both Dietz and Hauser.
"There are advantages and disadvantages [to living far away]. I actually live in the country, so we have a lot of land and a barn and stuff which are great for having lots of pets and running around and all. [...] It would also be nice to live closer to my school and friends," she says.
Every year, there are several Uni High students who come from outside the Champaign-Urbana area. These students have a tougher ride than most Uni students and put in extra effort to get to school each day, but for those students who do commute to Uni, the daily long-distance drive is often worth it.