When it comes to commuting to and from campus, I would like to consider myself as somewhat of a professional in this area. My commute starts with a car ride to the GO Station, a bus or train to Union Station, a subway ride to Queens Park/Museum/St George/Spadina Station, and sometimes even a street car. Oh and of course a whole lot of walking. Have you been through that tunnel in Spadina Station?! So, when I leave my house for the day, I have to come prepared for a long day. You see, when this much time, money, and effort goes into just coming down to attend classes, meetings, and sometimes events, you want to minimize the number of days you’ll be doing that and maximize the time spent away from your bed. Here’s a few tips to making your commuting life a little smoother:
Heard of road rage? Well I can have major commuter rage. A late bus, missed train, or other delays can be overcome by planning ahead. I do this by having my transportation website schedules always open on my phone’s browser. I check for times and updates on any changes before leaving the house in order to avoid all the frustration. (Subway delays however are another story…) This also applies to weather updates, always check those before leaving the house.
Get a Locker, a good backpack and comfy shoes.
If you want to avoid carrying a huge bag, consider getting a locker near your most utilised spaces on campus. I didn’t invest in one but sometimes I really do wish I had someplace to keep my gym shoes and clothes. Also, definitely invest in a good backpack and comfy shoes. Forget style, it is all about the comfort when you wake up at 7:00am for a 10:00am class and aren’t back in bed until 2:00am.
Use Commute Time Productively.
Use this time spent driving, sitting, walking, cycling or fighting for air in the crowd more productively. Instead of always listening to music, you can listen to a good podcast or audiobook. Catch up on readings, book that dentist appointment you’ve been avoiding, get through some of your emails. My most productive moments throughout the week are on my train ride. Or you can sleep – jackets make a decent pillow.
Schedule More Than Just Classes.
When you’re a commuter, you can’t just go to class for an hour and go back to bed until your next class. So of course, most of us naturally tend to take classes that are closer together. However, avoid scheduling anything for early morning or night. Find activities to do during your breaks and definitely find your on-campus spot to relax in. I like to fit in workouts, meetings, and occasionally sign up for workshops or other events in between to occupy my time better.
Find Friends Around Campus
Every now and then, if you happen to be working too late or are attending a party, it is so much easier (and safer) to have someone who you can stay with overnight.
Pack Food & Stay Hydrated!
With long hours spent going to and fro, it is always a good idea to pack some fruits or granola bars alongside a good lunch. Save money by preparing a quick lunch the night before (5-10mins!). There’s plenty of easy recipes you can try out. I know most people tend to think its too much work but if you get a routine going, you’ll be glad the next day. Also have a water bottle you can refill throughout the day.