Commuters to UW-Whitewater have it tough these days. Briana Ruesch knows just how difficult the life is.
“I’ve been commuting for the past three years now, and it’s gotten more difficult to continue to commute each year,” Ruesch said. “Gas prices never seem to drop and trying to find a parking spot is awful.”
Although it might make more sense to get an apartment or a dorm on campus, she chooses to commute for several reasons. The main one is her fear of another horrible roommate.
“I attended UW-Eau Claire for their first year in college and my roommate was just odd,” Ruesch said. “She never did anything, and always stayed in the room. It was so weird having friends over because she never wanted to interact, and it was just awkward. I couldn’t make any connection with her.”
Ruesch transferred to Madison Area Technical College for a year before again transferring to UW-Whitewater. It was at M.A.T.C. that she lost her interest in her original major.
“I wanted to be a nurse, but I took chemistry and got a D,” said Ruesch. “It was so embarrassing and so difficult that I knew I needed a change. I love working with kids, and after I took my first psychology class at M.A.T.C., I knew exactly what I wanted to do.”
Ruesch said she’s enjoyed the switch to a major in communication sciences and disorders a lot more than nursing. She said it’s “exactly what I was meant to do.”
Along with attending UW-Whitewater, Ruesch also works full time. She has been at the same job since she turned 16.
“When I first started at Piggly Wiggly, I remember I was so scared of everyone there,” Ruesch said. No one ever wanted to talk to me, and the people in-charge weren’t very friendly. Now as one of the head people, I am always helping the new workers out and just make myself open to anyone who wants to come and talk.”
Ruesch said she has always had a fondness of driving and will continue to commute until she graduates. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have any issues with it.
“I remember when I was 16, gas was only like $1.87 a gallon,” Ruesch said. “Now it’s always almost $4. It’s only been six years, and the price has doubled. I don’t even want to imagine what’s it’s going to be like in another six years. It’s just ridiculous.”
To make sure she doesn’t run out of money, Ruesch has had to cut back on several hobbies. She said number one on the list was shopping.
“It was really hard at first,” Ruesch said. “I wanted to go shopping and I was broke! It really sucked, but I’ve learned how to manage my money better. Commuting and budgeting are the two things I seem to do most these days.”