It's back-to-school time. And that also means it's time for most of us to go back to taking the bus.

It's safe to say that we've all heard the positive side of public transportation. It saves energy, reduces the use of fossil fuels and probably does a lot more to benefit the environment than the average person is aware of.

But for me, riding the bus also comes with many challenges. One of the hardest parts about taking the bus has to be timing it just right. Being ready on time 180 days a year is not an easy task. There are setbacks every day. First, I have to wake up on time every morning. Sleeping in for five extra minutes can alter my schedule for the entire morning. Next, I have to make sure that each morning task does not take longer than the allotted time. If an unforeseen event occurs, such as running out of cereal and having to open another box, I must subtract that one minute from another task that needs to be completed. Over the course of the next half hour, I must decide on an outfit, pack my lunch and put in my contacts in as little time as is humanly possible.

If all goes well, I should be able to make it to the bus stop a couple of minutes before the bus arrives.

But life is full of setbacks, and that one minute delay while straightening my hair or brushing my teeth can lead to that dreadful moment when I walk out of my house as the bus turns the corner and heads toward my bus stop. Sometimes it feels like a race to see which one of us is going to get there first.

The next hardest part about taking the bus is trying not to fall asleep. It seems that almost every time I get on the bus I start counting how much sleep I got the night before, right down to the minute, and how many more minutes of sleep I would have gotten if I had gotten a ride to school. To distract myself from my lack of sleep, I try texting my friends; unfortunately, not many of them have spare time at 7 in the morning.

Since I go to a school outside of my local district, I have no choice but to face yet another challenge: changing buses at the bus garage. When the doors open, I have only a minute or two to get off my first bus and find a seat on my second one. While all of this is happening, I'm at the mercy of Mother Nature. Rain or shine, the bus exchange must go on.

While taking the bus has many drawbacks, when I think about how my parents once had to walk to school, I'm suddenly grateful that I'm able to take the bus after all.


Stephanie Neville is a junior at Nardin Academy.