As a freshman at MSU this year, I would say I have transitioned into college life quite well. I have found a good balance between school and fun, made new friends and I rarely get homesick. Although this is true, there is one aspect of college life that has not come as easy — the CATA bus system.
In my few months at Michigan State, I can say I have attempted to take the bus twice. Each time was equally unsuccessful. I do consider myself rather average when it comes to common sense and street smarts, but the bus system here has managed to make me feel considerably dumb.
The first time I attempted to ride the CATA bus was for a simple excursion to Meridian Mall. I went with a few of my friends and we ended up sprinting down the sidewalk just to make it on the bus. When we boarded, we thought the hardest part was over, but unfortunately it was not.
While riding the bus, we made the decision to sit in the very back. The half-hour commute was enough to make my stomach feel unsettled, and by the time I got to the mall, I was in no mood to shop. Nevertheless, we did a few hours of shopping and when we were ready to go back to campus we set out toward the bus stop. As we were crossing the parking lot, we saw our bus sitting at the stoplight. A quick moment after, the bus took off without us.
Seeing as it was the last bus for the day, we ended up having to ask a friend pick us up from the mall. While we were figuring out how to get back to campus, it started raining, which only added to our cheerless moods. It was a miserable experience and it took a few months for me to pluck up the courage to try the bus again.
A few months later when the time came to give it another shot, a friend and I set out toward Meijer, 2055 W. Grand River Ave.
We figured going to Meijer would be a simple way to try using the bus again, but we should have known better.
We walked to a bus stop on Harrison Avenue, and after debating which side of the street was the right stop, we hopped on the bus. At this point, I’m sure you can guess it was not the right bus. My friend and I ended up going to a completely wrong area and riding the bus in a circle until we returned to our starting spot.
This is where I now am with CATA buses. But I have decided to make it a goal this semester to successfully go somewhere via bus. I do realize this is a seemingly simple task, but I have begun to wonder if I am just not cut out for public transportation.
I know I cannot be the only freshman having difficulties with this, and I only hope that after reading this, others realize they are not alone in the struggle.