5:25 a.m.
My alarm sounds.
My body says, “Two more minutes.” My head says, “Get up or you’ll be late.”
My dad drives me to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I can make my 8 o’clock class on time. But on Mondays and Wednesdays I take the bus. And all four days I ride the bus home.
I live in Carson, California and travel to West LA College takes four buses and 2-1/2 hours.
When I’m broke, I walk after class from campus to the Fox Hills Mall to catch the first of my four eight-wheeled chauffeurs.
If I have money, I take the Culver City Transit at the edge of campus and transfer to the 108 Metro Line at Slauson and Paramount. That’s a 45-minute trip.
Next is the Metro Silver 910 that takes me to the Harbor Gateway Station in Gardena. That’s a 20-minute ride, but usually follows a 25-minute wait.
Sometimes I have to wait an hour for my last bus, the Metro 246 San Pedro-Pt. Fermin. Once the 246 arrives, I’m on that bus for another 30 minutes before I exit at Avalon Boulevard and Carson Street.
Almost home, but I still have a 30-minute walk in front of me.

By the time I arrive home, I feel bad. I’m beat. So tired I don’t help my mom clean or with dinner. That’s not right.
I go to bed. Even if the sun is still out. The next thing I know it’s 9:30 and I’m up doing my homework. I don’t finish until after midnight. Sometimes I call it quits at 2 a.m.
I don’t see my family much anymore even though they often are in the next room. Or they are off at work.
Sometimes stress sneaks up on me and I just sit and cry.
Sometimes I feel alone.
Sometimes I am unable to sleep.
I don’t go out with friends.
No parties. No social life.
I ride bus after bus after bus to and from school.
I study and write papers, hoping my education will help me get somewhere in life.
I won’t quit.
Quitting is easy. Staying the course is sometimes hard.
But I won’t be broken.
For now I feel as if my life is all about riding buses.
Yet I feel that all those rides are one day going to deliver me to a better place.

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