Living Here or There

“We are currently experiencing delays due to a passenger assistance alarm activated on a train at Rosedale Station. Your travel time may be longer than expected. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Again? Oh, the joys of commuter life. The constant to and fro definitely takes a toll on you after the first few weeks of school (can you tell I’m getting stressed?). But as someone who’s lived on residence before, I know that both living situations have their ups and downs.

Being the list lover that I am, I’ve organized my own experiences regarding residence and commuter life in point form fashion. I don’t directly address the pros and cons of off-campus housing because I lack first-hand experience (but hey, I’m sure you guys have the best of both worlds!)

Residence Life



It’s easier to integrate into UofT life: Being on campus constantly ensures that you’re aware of school events at all times. What’s more is that you’re able to attend on a moment’s notice. Residence costs an arm and a leg: Convenience has its costs. Depending on which residence you live at, you may end up paying twice as much for residence as you do for tuition! The financial implications are often a deterrent against life in residence.
You save time commuting: Some students commute up to 4 hours a day. If used effectively, that time can be invested into friends, extracurricular activities, and more often than not, school work. The number of distractions on campus is astounding: UofT is located in the heart of the City of Toronto. The numerous events and parties may end up consuming all (if not more!) of the time you saved by not commuting.
You become independentAs a resident, you don’t have to adhere to predetermined rules and regulations (within reason!). You live your life on your own terms and learn to sort through daily issues by yourself. You’ll be surrounded by people everyday, all day: Privacy can be difficult to maintain while living in a dorm setting. Sometimes, “alone time” can be hard to come by.TIP: Knowing your roommates’ schedules will allow you to schedule in some “me time” during the times you know your dorm is empty.

Commuter Life



You don’t have to go without Momma’s cooking: Commuters generally don’t get homesick, which may make it easier to adjust to university life. Public transit can be difficult to adjust to: Learning to bus and/or subway to and from campus can be tedious and tiring. The crowds of people and the frequent delays require patience to get used to.
You can have your “outside school” life: For a commuter, school does not equal home. It can be uplifting to scurry home at the end of the day, where you can “escape” from your university troubles. Hitting the snooze button too many times will result in a missed class: Commuters are time-bound and must plan in advance to attend classes and events. As I have learned from personal experience, the TTC speeds up for no-one.TIP: Set multiple alarms and always give yourself double the time you normally need to get to school on days that you have a midterm or evaluation.
UofT hosts numerous commuter events: UofT aims to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for students of all backgrounds. Clubs, colleges, and departments on campus generally host commuter events, where commuters can engage in student life, meet friends, and enjoy FREE food!TIP:Check this out –> Commuting can be exhausting: After a long day of classes, commuters may lack the energy and motivation needed to get school work done. Sleep generally beats reading textbooks.TIP: Use the time on the subway to complete some readings or catch up on sleep. Also, creating a schedule with a day off every week helps reduce the pressure.

Deciding between a commuter and residence lifestyle is a decision we all have to make at some point in our academic careers. In fact, I believe that I spent more time debating my living situation in my first year than I did my major choices! Choosing which option is best for you is simply a matter of determining whether or not the ups are upper than the downs are down.

Till next week,


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