In mid-September I went to campus to attend my in-person classes for the first time. I looked around me and asked myself: Are there more people on campus now than in my orientation week three years ago? I couldn’t believe how packed it was outside with benches filled, courtyards above capacity and the LINE to get into Robarts Library. You can tell everyone is thrilled to be back!
I’m a commuter student now and I stay with my friend on days I have classes which means that my bag is heavy and I’m carrying a lot of things. The first order of business for me was to get a locker. I went to Innis College without knowing I needed to book an appointment to get one. I needed to empty these ridiculously heavy bags so I googled places to rent lockers on campus. I lugged my bags over to my college Woodsworth and with so many of their entrances closed, I navigated the building like a maze. Then I found out their student’s association office was closed. So, I went to the Faculty of Information building and was told it’s only for their Information students. I’m stuck on campus, I don’t see my friend until he’s off work, and there’s not one place to store my bags. I ended up at Robarts and was ready to have a breakdown.
The locker situation hit differently because of what it was like to be back on campus. In-person classes are back in session, study spaces have opened up yet campus doesn’t feel open. It essentially operates with a lot of restrictions. I know regulations must be put in place but the partial closures put a dent in the campus experience.
I go to school with new worries that I won’t find my own space between my classes. For someone to lives near campus or within the GTA, there’s the reassurance that you have a place to go back to. But when you commute from out of Toronto, and believe me, there’s quite a few of us, you end up being trapped. I’m grateful that U of T is doing everything they can to have classes in session but there’s aspects of reopening that make it difficult for commuter students to navigate campus.
On the bright side, U of T just announced a brand new study space they’ve opened up. In an effort to mitigate the shortage of study spaces, I’m glad that the school is listening to our concerns.
Additionally, a new app for finding space to do your online classes is now available! The Synch Search app allows you to reserve available spaces to attend those online classes on days you’re on campus.
I also found this great resource for finding space between classes. Let’s hope my commuting goes a little more smoothly next week!