Graduate Student Completes 10-Month Program by Commuting via Plane, Saving on Rent

To save on rent and complete his 10-month program, a graduate student commute via plane

UNCONVENTIONAL SOLUTION – A graduate student from the University of California completed his 10-month civil engineering program by commuting from Los Angeles to Berkeley by plane at the same time saving on rent.

On Reddit, user “greateranglia” who requested to be identified as “Bill” explained that he wanted to avoid the high cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area, and since he was already living comfortably in Los Angeles, he came up with the “crazy idea” of commuting to school by plane.

Having a love for flying and having accumulated frequent flyer miles and credit card points over the years, Bill saw this as an opportunity to utilize his resources. He mentioned his plan to return to his previous employer in LA after graduation, which further motivated him to pursue this unconventional commuting strategy.

graduate student
Photo credit to the owner

Bill discovered that student housing near Berkeley could cost at least $1,600 per month, which was not feasible for him. Additionally, the housing contracts typically required a 12-month commitment, while his program was only 10 months long and didn’t require him to be on-site every day.

To make this plan work, Bill strategically purchased plane tickets in advance and would cancel them if his schedule changed. Thanks to his elite status with airlines Alaska and Southwest, he had the flexibility to make same-day flight changes, allowing him to choose the most affordable flights and adjust his schedule accordingly.

His typical routine involved waking up at 3:30 a.m. to catch a 5:30 a.m. flight since his classes started at 8 a.m. Occasionally, he would opt for the last flight if he needed to stay late for a project or event.

By the end of his program, Bill had spent a total of $5,592.66 on his commuting expenses, which included parking and in-flight WiFi. He flew a remarkable total of 238 flights and dedicated 52 days to commuting throughout the academic year.

Bill described this experience as one of the craziest things he has done in his life, but he expressed his satisfaction in successfully completing his program without missing a single class.

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