Maia Spoto / daily executive
That winter, communications senior Carly Griffin-Fiorella and her roommate, Medill senior Avery Adams, began to feel “a little choked” living in their off-campus accommodation in Evanston.
“I got to a place where it felt like a good idea not to be in Evanston all the time,” said Griffin-Fiorella.
By spring, the roommates had moved into an apartment in Rogers Park. Now they’re among a handful of northwest upper classes who commute to campus from Rogers Park, a 20-minute CTA drive south of campus.
Griffin-Fiorella said they have no regrets leaving Evanston. She only goes to campus for classes and club activities, and usually commutes on the CTA Purple Line. They board at Howard Street CTA station at 11:00 AM most days of the week and return at 10:00 PM
“I feel like I can go to school (now) as opposed to ‘I’m out of school’,” said Griffin-Fiorella.
The balance between living close to the city and being able to explore the city while visiting friends and attending events on campus gave Griffin-Fiorella the idea of commuting.
“The commuting doesn’t necessarily bother me that much,” said Griffin-Fiorella. “It’s so nice to have access to a room that isn’t just the Northwestern and Evanston bubble that Northwestern ate at.”
Borrowing from their roommates’ feelings, Adams said they work in Lincoln Park, they said they never felt like they fit on campus or in Evanston when they lived in the dorms and off campus. Instead, they wanted to spend more time feeling comfortable in Chicago.
Adams said that since arriving on campus in the first year, their priorities have changed, particularly when it comes to what they want in housing. Instead of defining their entire identity as a “student,” they now feel like someone who has the opportunity to attend class while being aware of when to go to campus.
“I would much rather have my home, comfort, and community outside of Evanston Ward,” said Adams.
To separate school from other parts of their lives, they only go to campus every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, according to Adams.
However, life away from the campus also has disadvantages. Because the CTA Purple Line is often unpredictable and closes between 1am and 2am, roommates sometimes have to stay with friends or take ridesharing into their apartment late at night. However, both agreed that for them the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
SESP Senior Elizabeth Curtis, who moved to Rogers Park with her partner this fall said Evanston’s high rent was the deciding factor. Since they are graduating in December, it also makes sense for them to enter postgraduate life by leaving Evanston.
Curtis drives to campus every day, attends classes, and packs several meals a day.
“While the next part of my life is worth preparing for, commuting is really difficult,” said Curtis. “Since I am further away, it is not possible for me to come home in the middle of the day. Having to wrap up food for an entire day is a much bigger consideration. If I forget my computer charger, it’s a much greater inconvenience. “
Curtis is five years older, so most of her friends have already graduated. Since club meetings usually take place in the evening and they return home after class, they cannot attend.
However, they said that because of the relationships they have built with NU students over the past few years, they still have a strong community on campus.
“In some ways, I probably have the same connection that I felt around campus throughout the pandemic when the students weren’t here,” Curtis said. “It’s worth it for me (living in Rogers Park), especially since I’ll be done in six weeks.”
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