As a member of the unofficially recognized Booth Road Warriors Club, whose members emerge each weekend in our classroom after hours of commuting from far away places, I have just about seen or experienced it all when it comes to traveling for school. That was, however, until the weekend of September 27th, our first back for Autumn quarter, when a crisis at an FAA air traffic control facility near Chicago brought what seemed an entire nation of travelers down to its knees. Flights both incoming to and outgoing from Chicago’s major airports were anything but on time. Hundreds of flights were canceled, and thousands of travelers became stranded, desperately seeking alternative routes.
On that particular weekend, when my flight to Chicago for class was canceled, I was fortunate to make quick arrangements to drive. For me, it’s only about 5 hours on the road to Chicago from Louisville, Kentucky; and with enough of an advanced warning, I can make it in time for my Friday evening class. But, this made me wonder: what about all the other students coming in for the weekend from places much farther? How else do our students travel in from outside of Chicago? I set out to interview a few weekend students, who along with the many others in the Road Warriors Club, make a commitment to reach class on time each week, no matter the distance required or obstacles encountered. Here’s a look at how they literally got here.
Doug Fung, E/W ‘16, chooses to take the red-eye MegaBus each week from Cincinnati, so canceled flights at least are never an issue. However, his journey begins at 1:00 a.m. Saturday mornings, which on a smooth day puts him in to Chicago by about 6:00 a.m. Mr. Fung noted the importance of rest when pulling this advanced kind of “all-nighter”.
“The best trip experiences are usually the ones I don’t remember because it means I’m sleeping the whole way,” says Mr. Fung.
In the worst of times though, Mr. Fung has spent entire trips jostling for armrest space with other passengers. That can certainly make for a long weekend of class.
Amit Sakhuja, E/W ‘16, teams up with several other Boothies from the Indianapolis area to caravan the trip to Chicago. This Autumn quarter, they have 3 cars making the trek together. And, in typical Booth fashion, this group has adopted a points system intended to incentivize the driver each week. More drive-time equates to more points, which can be redeemed for more backseat time when desired, such as finals week. The real reward of this travel model, however, is the camaraderie, Mr. Sakhuja mentioned. And, the road sing-alongs of course.
Our final Road Warrior to mention is Sanjot Khurana, E/W ‘14. It’s worth noting, and commending, that Mr. Khurana has been making the air-commute from San Jose to Chicago each weekend for the past two years. By flight, that’s nearly 1,900 miles one-way! You do the math. Mr. Khurana has earned not only “miles” for all his travels, but also semi-celebrity status at San Jose’s airport.
We all make sacrifices in one form or another in order to maximize our experiences at Booth. And, as our Road Warriors remind us each week, there’s no distance too far to obtain a great education. Besides, we all know the real trip begins once you arrive here.