After nineteen years, I finally conquered one of my biggest fears. I took public transportation by myself two weekends ago to visit one of my home friends, Ali, at her college. Since I was traveling from Central Jersey (yes, it does exist) to the middle of Pennsylvania, I decided that it was best to take a train one way instead of a bus. I was extremely nervous to take the train because it was my first time taking public transportation by myself, but I soon learned that public transportation is not that bad, although I had lessons to learn.
The first lesson I had to learn is the importance of buying train tickets ahead of time and online. At first, I did not know that when taking the train, you have to purchase your ticket WEEKS in advance or else, it is extremely expensive. I decided to purchase my ticket the day before my trip, which cost me $100 in transportation in total. Rookie mistake.
The second lesson I learned was that train stations are not as filthy, populated, and unorganized as perceived. I was surprised to see how empty, clean, and organized the train stations were. I easily found my track and sat by myself, patiently waiting for my train to be called to board.
The previous point leads to my my third lesson, which is that it is crucial to be on time for boarding. I'm a person who is early to almost everything, so I had no problem with this; however, I would see many people sprint across the train station just to make sure that they were on time for their train.
Lastly, I learned how important it is to make sure you have something to do during the train ride. Since my train ride was over two hours and had constant stops, it became really difficult to keep myself occupied with just my phone. Another important part of public transportation is to not fall asleep on the train ride. Since I bought my tickets so last minute, my trains were at late times, making it harder to stay awake during the entire trip. I forced myself to stay up, however, for I feared falling asleep and missing my stop.
In summary, I would recommend anyone to take public transportation since it is not as bad as it seems; however, you should know these lessons going in.