It’s 5:30 in the morning. The sun isn’t up yet and neither are most students, yet a few high schoolers are already starting their morning routine to get to their first class.
Gracy Culver (’18) is one of a few students who live outside of central London. To get to her first class on time, Culver has to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to start her morning routine. After getting ready to leave her house, Culver takes a short commute from her house to get to her local station, New Cross Gate, where she catches the overground train to Canada Water Station at 7:12 a.m. She then changes to the Jubilee line arriving in St. John’s Wood at approximately 7:50 a.m. After a 40-minute commute, Culver finally reaches school, 15 minutes early to avoid being late in case of any sort of delay. “[The morning journey] isn’t so bad anymore that I’m so used to it, but it is annoying when there are delays and strikes,” said Culver.
Culver prefers to pass the time while she’s on her commute by preparing for the school day ahead. “I mostly just listen to music, but sometimes if I have a book for English I read it,” she said. Culver’s motivation to take the journey is usually the classes and friends that await her at school, “but on some days it can be hard because I’m very tired,” she said. Regardless of the long commute Culver still manages to stay part of the ASL community and balances her school and social obligations while still living a long distance from St. John’s Wood. “I love where I live, and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in London,” she said.
Similar to Culver, Teymor Buckley (’17), also faces a long commute to school each day from his home in South West London. Buckley usually starts his morning routine at 6:30 a.m. to make it to school by 7:45 a.m. He takes the South West train at 7 a.m. to get to Waterloo station, and from there he takes the Jubilee line to get to school.
Buckley doesn’t see the journey as an ordeal as he has been doing it for some time and he said “[On the train] I often take an hour working on homework.”
Regardless of the commute, Buckley prefers going to ASL and would not want to change schools if he had the chance because of the education and opportunities provided at ASL. “My mom went to ASL and I have been at here since the fourth grade. Although it wasn’t really my choice, I like it here… I find that I get work done during the commute,” he said.
Furthermore, a student in a similar situation is Hiro Nagayumi (’19), who lives in Woodside Park in North London. Nagayumi usually starts his mornings at around 6:30 a.m. to be able to get to his first class on time an hour and a half later. At 7 a.m. he leaves his house to make his way to Woodside Park Station, where he takes the Northern line to Euston. He then changes to the Victoria line to Green Park and then takes Jubilee line from Green Park to St. John’s Wood.
To make the long commute as endurable as possible, Nagayumi plans his after school activities in accordance with the train rush hour. “I try to avoid the rush hour on the tube because it gets way too cramped and I can’t bring my instrument [saxophone] home, so I usually leave right after school, or at 7 or 8 at night. That way the tube is more free,” said Nagayumi. Even though he has to schedule his time around the commute, Nagayumi says that overall the journey isn’t really a thrilling experience. As a passionate music lover, Nagayumi usually listens to music while he’s on the tube or finishes his class work if he has any left.
Nagayumi moved to London at the beginning of last year. Despite the long commute, there were other aspects of ASL that lead to him choosing it over other schools “I just preferred ASL as a school, both academically and as a community,” Nagayumi said.
Written by Staff Writer Naz Ozturk (’19)