Results tagged “commuter” from Hawk Talk - Christian

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Driving to and from UMass Lowell was a major part of my college life.  I drove from Malden, MA to Lowell, MA everyday for all of my four years at UML.  The drive from my hometown to the university was a good 40 - 50 minutes, depending on the times that I'm driving (ie. driving 8am vs. 1pm), traffic, and the routes I took.  Planning out my drive was very important for me as a commuter student.  I wanted to avoid night driving, hitting traffic, getting caught up with construction crews on Route 3, and so on.  I also wanted to get home right away so I have enough time to study, do papers, and other school-related stuff. 

All commuters were like this, especially those who live 20+ miles away from UMass Lowell.  Because of our strict planning to get out of Lowell to beat rush hour and our limited time in UML, we all felt that we weren't part of the UML Community.  I bet a lot of commuters felt like this.  The problem with commuters is our lack of discovery, involvement, and spirit.  I first realized this when I got involved with Alpha Lambda Delta in my sophomore year.  To make the most of the college experience, I felt that I have to get involved with what was offered, from sporting events, joining clubs, getting involved with an organization, helping out a professor, or even just plain hanging out in the university with residents and other commuters.  My friends and I have realized that if we get involved in some kind of way, we would finally feel like we're part of the community.  Last year, I started going to hockey games... and now I wish I started watching them when I was a freshmen!  The Riverhawks are an excellent Division 1 hockey team.  Their games are super exciting and... hey, they're nasty!! (And when I say "nasty" that means THE TEAM IS WICKED GOOD).  Also, I started to get involved with Omicron Delta Kappa.  One event I helped out in was "Trick or Treating for the Troops."  That was a blast!  Plus, I get to dress up as a handsome and adventurous Indiana Jones (hehe).  I started to get involved with what was offered and I finally felt like home.

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I regret not spending more time at UMass Lowell.  I wish I was more involved with the community and the organizations I was part of.  I wish I was at more sporting events so I can support our Riverhawk teams.  I finally felt like I was part of UML community at the end of senior year... do not make the same mistake of being a late bloomer.

Get involved as soon as possible!! 
Trust me, those 4 years will fly by faster than you can blink...

Christian Tiongson
UML Alumni, EP '09

Feel free to comment my blog!  If you leave questions, I will answer them!


What is wrong with this picture?  Why is the side of the parking aisle empty... and why is everyone parking right in the middle of the road????

Ladies and Gentlemen, today, February 4, 2008 - a date which will live in infamy - the Riverview Lot was attacked by a small snow storm the night before, which ultimately caused a massive amount of confusion to the commuter and residential community of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.  This morning, the parking lot was dusted with a half-inch of snow, which covered the yellow parking lines (and possibly glared common sense to some drivers).  With the snow on the ground, students began to make their own parking spaces in a disorganized and broken-jigsaw-like fashion.  A simple idea of creating your own parking row soon became a chaotic, yet comical nuisance to all mid-day commuters.  As soon as the sun came up and the temperatures rose, the snow melted.  There was a surprise waiting for the UMass-Lowell community especially for the UML Police and commuters - NO ONE WAS PARKING ON A LEGAL SPACE (and another picture below).

[Caption:  A driver makes her/his own parking space... wait everyone did]

I honestly started to laugh when I saw the mess we all made (yes, that includes me - a picture of my car "out of line" below).  I have never seen such a thing in my whole life.  It was such a simple (and right) thing to create your own parking row, which allows enough room to drive around the lot, yet we all messed up and underestimated the line placement. 


Yep, okay, we messed up, but I think some people are COMPLETE IDIOTS.  Why would you park your car three rows deep, instead of making a new aisle for parking?   When I say three rows deep, I meant that there are three consecutive rows of cars next to each other.  So basically the middle row is completely trapped in the middle.  Yes.  You heard me.  Three rows deep.  Don't believe me?  I have a (poor) picture to prove it, with labels and a small overhead view of the parking situation (below).  ... What happened to common sense today?  Did we forget that a full section means... well... it's full?  It's like trying to add an extra 6 eggs in a carton dozen of eggs.  Come on, wake up!

[Caption:  A detailed picture of the 3-deep parking mess.  I also made a diagram of the situation if you don't know what I'm talking about.  The numbers indicate the row]

Overall, I think this should be a wake-up call to the UML administration.  When it snows, it snows.  Plow it or melt it, even if its just a coating.  It would reduce any type of craziness that happens in the South Campus Riverview Parking Lot.  Maybe those snow banks at the back should go?  If they are removed, students would be able to park in actual parking spaces than making their own parking space.  Did you see what happened when students made their own parking spaces?  Wow.  That's all I can say.  Absolute Wow.  Thank God the UML Police didn't ticket people at all, because they would have a field day ticketing every single car in the back side of the lot. 

I wonder what tomorrow bring for UML parking?

Maybe another adventure to blog about?  Absolutely. 

- Christian

My first day back on UMass-Lowell soil was uneventful.  Actually, it was the worst first day of classes I've been experienced.  Figures, it's my last semester as an undergraduate at the campus, too! 

Let's start out with some positive aspects of my first day.  I woke up at a reasonable time that morning, which gave me enough space and time to watch T.V., catch up on the news, take a shower, have a "good" breakfast, and warm-up my car adequately (Sweet).  My drive up to Lowell was also pretty awesome too.  The drive was a good 35 minutes without any hint of traffic, slow downs from state trooper speed traps, or even a splash of icy patches.  Heck, even my trek through the back streets of Lowell was very smooth without any red light stops or construction.  But as soon as I turned into Broadway St. and entered the Riverview lot, my commuter nightmare begun. 

Let's just say that my journey in the parking lot took a good... 45 minutes to find a LEGAL parking space.  First of all, it seems like UML decided to dump all their snow on one corner of the "Big Lot," which eliminated a good 40+ spaces.  Why on Earth did they do that?  They never did that stuff before!  In the past, the crew usually would dump all that snow behind the softball fields, where the temporary overflow lot was.  I guess this time, the university decided to just pile 20ft mounds ON the active parking lot.  With those mounds, many people decided to parallel park next to them like there was no problem narrowing the space to drive.  Also, many people just decided that there were no such thing as parking lines.  I saw people continue to add more "imaginary" spaces, which also obstructed driving.  Come on folks, I know the unverisity screwed up by not removing those mountains of snow before the first day of classes (and the annual first day parking auto-fill), but at least don't be stupid by making driving difficult for that lot.  So basically, driving in that lot was like a Pac-man game without eating ghosts - we're all "Pac-mans" who were hungry for a clean parking space.  Luckily for me (after 45 minutes of car "Pac-man," I found a space in the Mahoney parking lot.  Thank God I gave myself a lot of time that day.

Here's the picture of the snow mounds from the top of the Mahoney parking lot:

Sorry for the crappy picture, but you can tell that those hills are noticable in the picture. 

I wonder where all the new snow will be dumped tomorrow... I hope they plow all that stuff onto the unused overflow lot.  At least get rid of those hills so I (and the rest of the commuter population) won't spend 45 minutes of my life looking for a space.

- Ian

Commuter Heaven!!!!!!

Please, tell me. 

Did I die?

Is the world ending?

... Hmm, maybe I'm going insane.

Is this real?

I remember a day in mid-July, with the temperatures soaring to a good 90 degrees, and the sky muggy from the trapped humidity.  I was sitting in my Mazda 3 driving down Rt. 99 from Everett and I noticed that my tank is close to empty (again).  So I decided to catch the closest gas station around to put something in my tank.  Unfortunately, I did not drive up to the closest station.  To tell you the truth, I drove around a little bit.  No, I was not trying to kill my tank so my car would die in the summer's heat.  I was just trying to find the "cheapest" gas.  After a good 10-15 minute drive, I decided to just pull up into one, ask for $10 "regular" in my tank, cancel all my plans and just drive home.  The "regular" price was $4.50.  I was broke throughout the Summer of 2008, a summer that I just want to forget (gas-wise).

Today is November 17, 2008, and I see just the total opposite.  Honestly, I think my prayers have been answered.  Heck, my dreams as a Bostonian driver was answered (and unfortunately, it's not the reconstruction of the "Cloverleaf I-93/I-95 (Rt 128)" Intersection).  For the first time in forever, I finally see gas prices under $2.00 littered in one stretch of road.  This is a dream come true!!!!  I seriously felt a tear falling down my cheek (okay, that was just a mental image in my mind).  The economy is pretty much suffering right now, but the gas prices continue to fall.  In five months, prices went from an eye-sore $4.50 to a beautiful $1.77.  As soon as I saw that, I pulled up and experimented...  Let me explain.

Once in awhile I'll add just $10 of gas when my tank hits the last quarter of the gas meter/viewer (or whatever you call it).  After putting $10 in, I check to see how much the arm of the meter increased.  In July, the arm went up between quarter to a half.  Today, the arm went well above the half mark and closer to 3/4.  I was so dang happy!!!!  So basically I can put $20 worth of gas for a full tank, which is half of what I spent for a full tank in July!  

With gas prices this low, I can finally relax and not worry about emptying my wallet!!!  I can finally save money to buy Christmas presents for my whole family!

So to all commuters out there, take advantage of the low under $2.00 prices, because you'll never know when the prices might jump up close to $5.00.  So fill em' up and drive away!!


While at work, I was thinking about the first few weeks of school and something hit me. I just realized that those who just started reading my blog posts don't really know who I am as much!  It might be a pain to search for my first blog post, so I mind as well give you an update about myself!


My name is Christian Tiongson and I'm (finally) a senior Exercise Physiology student at the University of Massachusetts - Lowell.   I'm a commuter student who travels from Malden, MA to Lowell, MA every day.  For those who don't know how far it is, the round trip drive is approximately 60 miles.  So basically my drive up to Lowell in the morning is approximately 30-45 minutes depending on traffic and usually 45-60 minutes going back home.  Fun stuff, huh?  About 99.9% of the time, I drive my 2005 Mazda 3, which has brought me up and down the state through every kind of weather (snow, rain, sleet, wind, sunny, etc).  It is also really great on gas with an approximate 30 mpg.  In other occasions when a snow storm buries the roads in Malden and not in Lowell, I take the commuter rail up to Lowell and take public transportation.  Not bad, but somewhat pricey.

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As of now, I'm planning to attend graduate school to become a doctor in physical therapy.  But I feel that there is something else for me out there, like becoming a certified strength and conditioning specialists, an exercise physiologists, or do something else that relates to sports.  So right now, I'm still in the undecided state (unfortunately).  I really hope that something pops into my view that catches 100% of my attention and later pursue it.  Let's see what I find through classes and life... I am part of Alpha Lambda Delta, which is the Freshmen Honor Society, and planning to become part of Omicron Delta Kappa, which is the Leadership Honor Society.  Alpha Lambda Delta haven't been doing much lately, so I plan to devote more time with Omicron Delta Kappa.


When I'm not busy with studying, I'm either hanging out with my friends (and that special someone), hanging out with my family, playing baseball with my brothers (and sometimes sister), doing artwork, playing guitar, or just playing around with my laptop.  Most importantly, I am the coach of a Babe Ruth Baseball team in my city.  I've coached for 6 seasons (3 years in Little League and 3 in Babe Ruth).  This brings you to my next point... I LOVE BASEBALL!  I relate everything in life to baseball from problems to love, etc.  It's part of my life.  I can't explain how much I love the sport.  In the winter I get really depressed when it's done.


I also write music although not professionally but as an amateur musician.  My music name is "Sir Christian."  I don't sing at all, yet I do try (and I have a few fans out there who love my singing).  When I'm not up for singing, I'm just jamming out on my guitars.  You can listen to my stuff on my music myspace, .  The sound quality isn't that great due to the lack of equipment, but I believe that it's good enough to be on that site.

Well I think I basically told you my life story.  I'm happy with what I have right now and who I am.  If you have any questions about the commuter life or stuff, just email me: or add me on facebook!

Leave some comments!

- Christian Tiongson '09 


Okay.  Parking at UMass-Lowell isn't the greatest... Heck, it's even not worth the $148 full-time commuter parking fee that I have to blow from my wallet every fall semester!  I've talked to other commuter students from other campuses and they pay less than $100 for parking.  Talk about a major rip-off!!!

The commuter lots are always filled to max capacity, which totally stinks for commuter students.  The overflow commuter lot, or what the new UML Parking Map calls the South Auxillary Lot, which is also known as "The Grass Lot" to some people, is only open for a number of hours and at times can be filled to near max capacity.  So where else should I park if those areas are just completely jam packed?  There WAS an option of parking my car in North Campus and taking the shuttles to the other campuses, but that option is pretty much burnt up in the oven since the University Avenue Bridge was just shut down in August, and its planned reopening will be on December 1st. (Talk about bad timing with bridge construction too).   The other campuses are inaccessible due to the high amounts of traffic from students traveling through the streets of Lowell.  I mind as well just walk between campuses until the bridge is fixed!  I've talked to one of my friends who travels between campus, and she is very ticked off with parking and traffic at the University.  She doesn't like the fact that parking here is very insufficient for all students, especially for commuters.  Honestly, there seem to be more commuter students attending UML.  So is there a solution for that?

Is it just me, or we are missing a parking lot near Sheehy Hall?  Yep, the parking lot is gone for good.  That means that the Riverview parking lot will be a little bit fuller with residential students.  And what happened to the "VIP lot" behind Mahoney Hall?  There was a section of 4 - 6 spaces of unmarked parking spaces which was used by students (including) for the past 3 years.  The first day of the Fall Semester was a shocker:  my favorite parking space is no longer available for students.  It's a professor/staff lot.  What a big stinker!  
I just have a feeling that UML will continue its tradition of insufficient parking for awhile until either a big capacity parking garage is built on North and South, and the "Grass Lot" turns to an actual parking lot but for now, I just have to deal with it...

Oh there's more to say, but all that cluttered thoughts just fell out of my head... Let me compare my cluttered thoughts to a Jenga tower.  Take a few thoughts out, put it on paper (or in an electronic blog), and CRASH!!! The tower falls to the ground.  Okay, maybe its just a writer's block...

Enough from me tonight.  I need some sleep... All I'm going to say is that I'm not looking forward to my next adventure for a parking space this Friday. 

- Christian

Commuters Prepare!

Hello everyone, 

I'm looking at my calendar, and there are about two weeks left of August.  That means the fall semester is coming up (way too) fast. 

For new commuter students, there's a lot of things you have to expect on the first few weeks of classes:

1)  GET YOUR PARKING PERMIT!   This is the most important thing to get before first day of classes!  The permit is a decal that states that you are a commuter student and you have the authority to park in most parking lots.  If you do not have the permit on the first day, you will get a UML Police Parking Ticket, or what the commuters call the infamous "Orange Envelope."  So please get one as soon as possible!  To order a permit online, please go to this website:

2)   The parking lots in UMass-Lowell will be filled quickly and traffic will be a "I-93 highway crawl."  This is probably due to students trying to find the large parking lots, and other students still moving into their dorms.  From what I heard from other students, the parking lot right next to Sheehy Hall was removed and turned into a green spot (and I still don't know why).  So traffic will be tighter than usual and parking spots will be harder to find.  I would definitely leave your house earlier than planned.  Try to plan out your route in advance by driving to UML before move-in day so you can get accustomed to where to go, so the first day vehicle jam won't be a major surprise to you. 

3)   Get your vehicles checked by your mechanic before you start driving to school everyday.  It is a good idea to get your brakes fixed, check your engine light, tires, and other car stuff.  This step is basically a time to prevent any future breakdowns during the school semester.  Trust me, you don't want to miss classes because your car fails to start in the morning!  When the semester moves on into October, it is good to think about winterizing your car, because slippery roads are dangerous.

4)  Talking about breakdowns and bad weather, sometimes you may get stranded in UML.  It's a good idea to have extra clothing in the car, some toothpaste, a toothbrush, and other essentials that will help you through the night.  Please don't sleep in the car with the engine on... there will be carbon monoxide build up and that's deadly!  If you know a friend that has a dorm, sleep over there instead.  Trust me, especially in the winter, the car freezes up.

5)  Know the gas stations around the area.  Fortunately, UML South has a gas station right next to it.  The prices there are fairly inexpensive compared to others in the area.  But it's a good idea to fill up before you leave your house.  I created a link from Google Maps that shows all the gas stations around Lowell:  Google Maps: Gas Stations in Lowell

6)  Here's a tip about parking again:  Please don't create your own parking space.  This is the reason why commuters get ticked off.  Some people tend to park in places that aren't considered as spaces at all, or some are stupid enough to park on a handicap space when they aren't handicapped!  Please remember this:  as long as you park in an area that says that you are allowed to park there, and your vehicle is between the white solid lines, you will be fine!

Well those are the basic points for the first few weeks of classes.  There are probably other points that I did not go over, but as soon as I think of others, I'll re-edit this blog. 

Please ask questions if you are confused about anything about the commuter life.  I will be a senior this fall and I think I know my way around as a commuter :-)

If you do have questions, you can email me:

- Christian

Nice and warm out


Hello everyone,

Right now, I'm in one of Weed Hall's computer labs, of course checking my email, going to to catch up on the news and weather, and looking up stuff for class.  I'm surprised about today's weather, which is nice, partly cloudy, and warm.  This type of weather just reminds me that warmer weather is on the way.  Of course, since this is New England, the weather man predicts some wintery unsettled weather for the weekend.  All I can say is that I'm pretty sick of cold, wet, and "grey" weather.  Driving to and from UML can be a pain especially when a storm is on its way.  I've been stuck in weather-related traffic a hand full of times already.  I believe that present and future commuters should have a back-up plan if bad weather prevents any type of travel.  It is almost required to find a buddy from the dorms who will allow you to spend the night with, or find any other places of shelter.  Having an emergency kit in your car, with some can goods, extra clothing, toothbrushes, and other important things is essential for any weather related emergency or alterations.  Come to think of it, I have to check on my emergency equipment and check if they are adequate.  It's a good thing to prepare for anything while driving to and from campus.  Most importantly, there is a school-closure number that all UML students, professors, and staff should know:  978-934-2121.  Obviously, if school closes, you can also check your local television station for updates.

Wow, time flies when you are blogging.  Time to head to Abnormal Psychology. 


Hello everyone!

My name is Christian Tiongson, and I'm a junior Exercise Physiology student at UMass-Lowell.  I'm a commuter student who travels from Malden, MA to Lowell, MA everyday (sweet drive, huh?).  I am currently a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, which is the Freshman Honor Society.  Academically, I have made the Dean's List every semester so far, which by far is the biggest achievement for me.  As of now, my plans after graduation is attending UML's Physical Therapy (DPT) school.  There are tons of options out there for me to grab, so I'm still looking around.  Right now, I'm going for a minor in Nutrition. 

Okay enough about academics; more fun stuff about me!  During my spare time, I play my guitar, draw or paint (art stuff in general), hang out with my girlfriend, play sports with my younger brothers (mostly baseball, since we are HUGE Red Sox fans!), or simply relaxing and enjoying the day in my own room either on the computer or watching TV/Movie.  Currently, I'm a coach for my city's youth baseball league.  I'm proud to say that this is my overall sixth season as a baseball coach.  I already have one city championship under my belt, and I'm looking forward for another one this season!


As a blogger, I'm here to give you the "low down" or perspective on my life as a UML Commuter Student.  Many people would say that being a commuter student is difficult because it involves driving to, from, and in between the many campuses, there is a lack of time to mingle with resident students, there is nothing to do, and many other reasons.  I would like to say through my own experiences that being a commuter is no different than a resident student, other than the whole dorm experience.  Throughout the semester I will blog about particular aspects of the commuter life, give you advice on how to manage your day, and talk about other fun stuff at UML! 

I will also post a few pictures and videos to enhance my blog... right now it looks dead because my beautiful face isn't on it! (haha, just kidding).

Well time for me to do some readings... I'm looking forward to blog more about me and my life as a commuter student at UML!

Happy and relaxed,


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