The College Girl’s Guide to Urban Living

At one time or another we have all pictured ourselves in an episode of “Sex and the City,” walking down 5th Avenue, window shopping in fabulous heels and designer clothes. Who doesn’t think of glitz and glam when it comes to the big city? You imagine yourself in a shopping euphoria carrying dozens of bags from Saks, Bergdorf’s and Bloomingdales as people watch you walk down the block. However, your daydream is quickly cut off by the blow of car horns and midtown traffic. Instead of hailing a cab or having your own Mr. Big come save you in his limo, the only budget-friendly option to get home is *gulp* public transportation.

While you could never imagine Carrie Bradshaw on a crowded subway car, true New Yorkers commute everyday on the MTA, battling weather and swarms of unresponsive people all trying to get somewhere fast. Since I have grown up in NYC, I have spent most of my life traveling on the subway or bus. My friends and I constantly swap stories about things we have seen when traveling in the city. Here’s a list of how you can manage (an almost) stress-free commute.

For some reason when entering a train people never move toward the center or ends of the car. Instead, dozens of people huddle on top of each other, trying to grab onto the same poll. This is neither smart or comfortable because the people eager enough to get where they need to go will push their way through, which leads to you either getting shoved or stepped on!

Finding a seat is also a main priority for people, so much so that I have seen people fight over seats. While we all want a nice commute, sitting and reading the paper, getting into a fight over it is, well, absurd. Instead, give up your seat to the elderly, disabled and pregnant, which are the people who clearly need to sit more than you do!

Also, quick tip, when taking the bus, go directly to the back! The front is the designated spot for those who can’t walk far and for people in wheelchairs.

To see how common people take up space and seats on the train, visit

Thankfully, cell phone service has not reached underground just yet. So, most commuters are spared the annoyance of hearing a person’s incredibly personal and extremely loud conversation on the subway. Unfortunately, the bus is not cell phone-service free, allowing for dozens of people to have loud and obnoxious conversations. While some phone calls are necessary, keep them low and as quiet as possible; no one wants to hear you making a bikini wax appointment or how your friend’s breakup is going.

And, speaking of noise, while you may be obsessed with Katy Perry’s or Lady Gaga’s newest songs, the whole train may not like it. Your iPod shouldn’t be loud enough that those around you can understand every single word of the song you’re listening to.

Eating and Drinking
We get it—you’re in a rush and you don’t have time to stop and eat something. Having a piece a candy or even a bagel on the train or bus is no big deal. However, enjoying a huge meal on the train is gross and unsanitary. The smell alone will fill up the whole train car and probably last all day, not to mention most people don’t know how to clean up after themselves.

And believe me, people will complain. Just watch this fight over spaghetti on YouTube!

These tips are definitely not just for NYC, they apply to anyone taking any form of public transportation. While this all may seem like common sense, many people have a habit of neglecting their manners when in public! What you do at home is fine, but when traveling with hundreds of strangers next to you, it’s important to take others into consideration.

So tell us, what are some of your pet peeves or things you have witnessed on public transportation?

By: Ariana Philips | Image: Weheartit

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  1. Omg ! this explains my daily commute !!!!! absolutely love this article <3 !!!!!!

  2. Public transportation while fast and efficient have way too many weirdos.

    I can remember this one time where this girl came onto the bus with screaming at her ex-boyfriend on her Bluetooth, saying that he put video cameras all over her house and that there were naked pictures and videos of her doing her business all over the internet. She kept dropping f-bombs all the time, so one guy was like "hey, can you stop swearing, there are kids on board."

    And that one little comment made the girl blow up and all of a sudden she was saying the most racist things. It got so bad that the bus had to stop and the driver kicked her out. And as we drove away, everyone was like "I kept hoping she was on her cell phone." So at the end it was almost like "who was she talking to?"

    Moral of the story: do not have private conversations on public transportation.


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