Introduction

Surviving the Winter: Tips for Commuters

Surviving the Winter: Tips for Commuters

You may have noticed some changes on campus recently. It’s a lot colder than it was a mere few weeks ago, it’s also a lot darker with the sun pretty much setting as we sit in our late afternoon classes… Needless to say folks — obligatory Game of Thrones reference.

As a commuting expert (I’ve been doing it for the past 4 1/2 years) I know how troublesome and annoying commuting in the winter can be. Today I’m going to devote some time to offering some advice and tips for you commuter students out there who are still trying to get the hang of commuting in these colder temperatures. Commuting is annoying at the best of times, and trust me, commuting in the winter can sometimes be a pure exercise in frustration and perseverance.

Sure, winter on campus is all nice looking, artsy and dramatic, but does it feel good?

1 – Give yourself more travel time

This is perhaps the most obvious of the advice I’m going to give, but it also the most important. Winter weather is the worst for public transit and it is during this time of the year where problems with your bus/street car/subway/car/legs are the most likely to occur (not factually true, I don’t really know if — statistically — the winter time is worse than the other seasons in terms of transit reliability. I just made this assertion up…but it feels true — isn’t that all that matters?).

In order to accommodate this fact (that I made up) be sure to give yourself more travel time than you normally would. Try to leave your home at least 30 minutes earlier on those winter days where commuting is bound to more of an issue — days of heavy snowfall, flash freezing and general awfulness.

2 – Know your space on campus

Let’s face it: unless you’re building a snowman or skiing, being outside in the winter sucks. It’s cold, slippery, grey, you’re all wet…it’s just bad (as you can tell, I’m not a fan). In order to minimize the time you spend exposed to these horrible elements (especially true for those lovely -15°C mid-January days) be familiar with the spaces in which you will be spending your time on campus; be it classes, libraries, or social spaces. Try to plan your day so that the amount of time you spend outside is minimal.

3 – NEVER underestimate a warm meal

A warm meal is good at any time, but it is especially good during the winter. A warm lunch/dinner during those long, cold, and dark winter days can do wonders for uplifting your spirits. Know where you can either buy/heat up warm meals on campus and be sure to stick to these locations. Winter time is soup time, people. Embrace it.

4 – Layers, layers, layers

The winter is an especially horrible time for commuters as we are forced to not only battle the elements, but our wardrobes as well. Every morning during the long winter months commuters have to ask themselves: “how God-awfully cold outside is it today, and what should I wear to accommodate it?” If you wear too much, you’ll be good for the outdoors but sweating it out on the subway and in class. If you wear too little you’ll be freezing all day and will probably get sick and die. My advice: layer your clothing to the best of your ability. It will take some getting used to in order to figure out what combination of clothing is best for your day — not to mention feeling encumbered like giant puff ball as you wear an undershirt, long-sleeved sweater, jeans, socks, underwear (hopefully), and snow pants (maybe?). Dress to undress is the best fashion advice I can give to winter commuters.

5 – Slippers are awesome

I don’t know about you, but I HATE winter boots. They’re big, clunky, and ugly. Winter boots can be especially cumbersome as you sit less than two feet behind someone in your wooden lecture chair during class. To remedy this situation, I advise bringing slippers to school as you can easily…slip…them on at any moment of the day and use them as your indoor footwear (especially helpful during those 15 hour Robarts sessions you’ll be having as you prepare for finals in December).

Well there you have it folks! Some tips for commuters on how to make the winter a little bit less unpleasant. Feel free to make any suggestions or offer any tips and/or tricks of your own that I may have overlooked in the comment section below!

– Matteo

IMAGE SOURCE: University College

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