8 It’s 7 a.m.; the sun is up, but just barely. It’s not quite raining, but there’s mist in the air. A man is quietly mumbling to his other personality. A woman shifts back and forth in her heels. A man in a suit checks his watch for the third time. He leans forward, staring down the tracks for the first glimpse of the train’s headlights.

This is the commute: inexplicable delays, annoyed crowds, sticky and stained floors, and not so inexplicable smells. For many New York University students, this is how they start and end their day. Here are some of their experiences:

The Good

Olivia Ritchie, a junior Media Criticism major, lives in Jersey City. For her, it is her apartment that makes commuting worth it. She says, “I save a lot of money. I have a great apartment, I have a huge living room and stainless steal appliances and granite counter tops, well it may be fake granite… [And] it’s cheaper than dorming. I have my own bedroom; I don’t have to share with anyone. I feel like that makes [commuting] worth it. Because that’s where I have to live, so I want to be able to enjoy it.”

For Nihal Patel, a sophomore Biochemistry major, it’s the quiet that draws him to commuting. On living in the suburbs of New Jersey, he says, “Staying at home, it’ so much nicer and quieter. [In Manhattan], every night, at least one ambulance goes by and you’re woken up at 3 a.m. and you’re like shit, I have to wake up for 7 a.m. At home, its dead quite.”

Megan Steiner, a Religious Studies and English double major, says there is only one perk to commuting: “Not dorming.”

The Bad

Richard H., a senior Computer Science major, laments his commute on the “infamous” 7 train: “You always see the homeless people and when you get on the train and the whole car smells like garbage and shit and piss.” Olivia Ritchie knows what he means: “When I first came to New York, I was reading tips for New York, and it [said], if there is ever an empty subway car, there is a reason it’s empty.”

Olivia tries to not think about how disgusting the train is, she says, “Sometimes I’ll think, statistically, there is a really good change someone has vomited on this train car, there is a chance someone has vomited on the seat I am currently sitting in, but if I think about that I’m going to be miserable.”

The Ugly

Megan Steiner’s worst commuter experience happened on the Long Island Railroad: “So, I was living in Bethpage at the time and I was taking the Ronkonkoma line… during rush hour the train was really packed and I would be crushed into the doors or the aisle. This one old man that I thought looked super innocuous, within five minutes of the train moving, every time he got ‘jostled’ he feel into me. And he kept groping me with his hands… I transferred trains, and he followed me. He kept touching me with his hands, and I was getting really mad. I think people started to notice and three large men rearranged at one of the stops and surrounded me, making a barrier between me and the creepy old man… if [the old man] was like ten years younger, I would have kicked him the scrotum.”

Olivia describes her worst commute: “There was a week earlier this semester where my train was just straight up not working. I think there was an electrical fire or something. There’s always fires or something… So everything is down, and I’m on the World Trade Center train and for some reason it goes backwards to Journal Square, so I’m like even further into New Jersey… I didn’t even get into the city until like two hours later….I don’t know if it was it a signal problem or if they get confused.”