The Longest Commute: traveling 100 miles to get to SMC

Getting up at 3:45 a.m. and leaving home at 4:20 a.m., Jeremy Novoa travels about an hour and 25 minutes to get to SMC. His route takes him out of Victorville on Interstate 15 and includes travel on the 210, 605, 60, and 10 freeways before exiting Interstate 10 at Cloverfield Blvd.

Novova travels in his 2014 Volkswagen Passat twice weekly to SMC from Victorville, which is located about 100 miles northeast of Santa Monica.

“I could get up at 5:00 a.m., leave at 5:30 a.m. and I wouldn’t get up here until 8:30 a.m.” Novoa says. He wakes up extra early so he doesn't have to deal with traffic sleeps in his car once he gets to campus.

To pass the time while driving, Novoa says, “Listen to talk radio.” He laughed and added, “In the morning, I'm forced to listen to Mike and Mike." On his way home, he likes to listen to ESPN Radio's Freddy Coleman.

Novoa is attending SMC in hopes of transferring to the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California. He hopes to become a sports broadcaster.

After high school, Novoa moved in with his father in Marina Del Rey and began attending SMC. During that time, he struggled with his parents' divorce and said that his first round at college suffered as a result. "I withdrew from a lot of classes," he said, which adversely affected his financial aid. As a result, he moved back to Victorville with his mother, step-father, sister and 3 step-brothers.

Novoa compared himself to those of his peers who are bumming around or not in college, he said, “A lot of people are scared of what they could do...of what they can become.” He says his low grade point average dissuaded him from going to college straight out of high school and that, on the advice of his counselors, he initially took what he describes as the cheaper way; which involved working for his dad instead of going to college.

Such unhelpful counselor advice, as well as discouragement from family, inspired Novova to prove them wrong and drive from Victorville, Calif. to SMC twice a week.

"It's easy to become complacent in your hometown" said student Jeremy Novoa, referring to many of his neighbors who have done so.

When asked about his decision to continue to attend SMC after moving back to Victorville he said, "When I lived out here, I had such great experiences at SMC. The professors have always been very, very cool to talk to and very helpful. I've had nothing but good experiences here.”

In order to get started, he said, “I talked with my mom and my step-dad and I told them that, if they could help me with gas, once I get myself back on my feet, I will pay them back. They said, 'Of course.'"

Currently, he says he spends $50 per week on fuel and up to $10 per day for food and drinks related to his commute to SMC.

When asked if he plans to commute to SMC again in next semester, he let out a breath and laughingly said, "Still to be determined." He then became a bit more serious and said that he plans on returning in the spring; however, he wants to do schedule his classes for Tuesdays and Thursdays; which, he said are "easier days to travel."

Regarding his commute to SMC, Novoa said that SMC professor Vivian Rosenberg told him, "Sweetie, that's going to get you far." When asked what Novoa thought Rosenberg meant by that, his quick response was, "Character.” He went on to explain, “A lot of people would just be like, 'Yeah, it's too hard–can't do it.’ The reason why I do it, though is I know my goals and this is what I need to be doing."

His best advice for anyone considering commuting to college from over 100 miles away is, "Turn off your phone, go to bed at 8:00 p.m. and wake up earlier than anybody else so you can beat the traffic and then sleep in your car. Bring a pillow or something."