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Anne Hilker Headshot

What To Do On A Long High School Commute

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I live 11 miles away from my high school. I have to wake up at about 6:40 a.m. to catch my ride. There are some families in my town with kids who go to the same school, so we started a carpool. The commute is about 30 minutes, but depending on traffic, it could take longer. I know, you're thinking, "30-minute commute? Seriously!" But each morning brings another opportunity to think of creative things to do.

On Monday, everyone is tired after sleeping in all weekend, so to wake us up we turn up the volume on the car radio. My friend's dad, Mr. L., drives a Jeep and blasts rap music as we bounce down the highway. By the time we get to school we are wide-awake and ready for the day. Because he also drives on Tuesdays, it's the same scenario: We crank the music and tell jokes and funny stories. In the spring, Mr. L. has promised to drive with both the top and the doors off the Jeep. I am definitely looking forward to that, although for some reason, my mom wasn't thrilled by the idea.

Wednesday it's a different story. Mrs. S. drives, and she has to catch a train to New York City after dropping us off. That means I have to get up at 6:20 and be out the door at 6:40. It's amazing the difference an extra 20 minutes of sleep can make. I get into the car and we play the music at a normal volume, which gives me time to think about what I'm going to blog about. Ergo this post was born.

On Thursday and Friday, I get to sleep in until about 6:40 again because my dad drives. We have Sirius XM Satellite radio in the car, and sometimes I have to arm wrestle him to play Hits 1 instead of the Grateful Dead channel. My sisters and I have nicknamed the Grateful Dead channel "the Taliban Torture channel," because the songs never actually end, and if played loudly and consistently enough by the CIA, they could get anyone to confess terrorist secrets.

When I was in middle school, I could sleep in until 7 a.m. I took my showers in the morning and would always make time to put on makeup and pick out the perfect outfit for that day. Now that I'm in an all-girl school, I take a lot less time in the morning. I just get up, put on my uniform, tie my hair in a messy bun, grab a breakfast bar and a piece of fruit and then I'm out the door. I don't even wear a winter coat over my sweater because my school has underground tunnels that the students believe is haunted, leading from building to building. Not wearing a winter coat drives my mom crazy though. I take my showers at night so that I can sleep longer, and trust me -- those few extra minutes really do make a difference throughout the day.

I thought waking up early would be horrible, but it turns out not to be as big a hassle as I expected. After a while, you get used to it still being dark even though it's morning. What's your morning routine? Can you sleep in or do you have to wake up super early? Do you have an extreme commute? How do spend the time?