As one of many international students, I am in a different time zone than U of T in the Eastern Time zone. I also know that many of my friends live west of the university all the way to Vancouver, and those time differences also are difficult. I live in the UK which is 5 hours ahead of Toronto. I know very well that this is not one of the worst time zones to be in currently. Many of my friends live with their days flipped or work extremely long days trying to hold on to the Toronto time zone to keep up to date. In engineering, all lectures are recorded for me so I have the flexibility to manage my time and I like to keep to a fairly normal schedule.
For my engineering groups, I work with students from all across the world and I think we’ve done fairly well to accommodate. In my group of 6, we have students from Vancouver to India – only two of them are in the EST zone and none of us live on or near campus this year. There’s an incredible 13 and a half hour difference. Yet, these team members don’t sulk, they get involved as usual. we all understand the social family difficulties and daily uneasiness that comes with not being able to be awake and see sunlight as much.
I balance and manage my daily schedule to stay within normal waking hours. I find that because my classes are recorded, there’s the option to not unhealthily be in the Toronto time zone. I usually get about half a day of live classes or so and try to catch up with the rest and work and call friends outside that. They get it and a lot of them are in the EST so things aren’t difficult in that respect. And even as I’m not completely in it, my professors are very accommodating and easy to reach if I need assistance. I know especially for other people in time zones, they make sure to be fair and offer as much as they can for everyone.
In clubs and societies, I’ve found that most of my calls are with people in Canada, so this pushes the meeting time to usually the evening or midnight, and I put out those times for me to be available. And I think if you’ve got the chance to set it out and talk about it openly between yourselves, people are quite accommodating and helpful. I think it is easier to notice those who care a little bit and accommodate those in other time zones and those who don’t understand yet the tiresome difficulties that a huge percentage of the student body faces.