I can tell you first hand that as someone who has to commute about an hour and a half to get downtown, getting involved at school and integrating yourself into the campus community can be extremely difficult. Us commuters can be reluctant to join a student group or a sports team (and with reason), but the reality is that getting involved in university can enhance your experience by like, a million percent (it’s true!). And it’s not impossible to do well academically, while also getting heavily involved on campus. If you know you’re going to be commuting when you come to Ryerson, here are some tips for immersing yourself in the school community, even if you have to take that dreaded 1+ hour trip home.
Take advantage of breaks between class
Extracurricular activities can result in less time to complete homework or get some studying done. But many times, there will be a day on your schedule where you have over an hour of time between classes to kill. This presents the perfect opportunity to head to the library or the Student Learning Centre to write a couple paragraphs for an essay, or study a chapter of your textbook. That way, you’ve used some midday free time to be productive, and have also knocked something off your to-do list, which no longer needs to be tackled when you get home at 9 pm during the week.
Do your readings on the transit
This is something I’ll admit to not being too good at. However, getting some of your readings done while spending an hour on the bus, train, or subway, is such a great way to complete something mundane, or at least skim through the main points, so you don’t feel guilty spending time showering, eating, and laying on the floor scrolling through Twitter and Instagram for an hour straight when you get home (unless that’s just me).
Go with a friend
Join a group or intramural team with a friend, someone who can hold you accountable, and vice versa. Not only that, but things are always more fun when you know you’ll be doing it with someone you already like! You’ll likely be more comfortable starting conversations with others and making more friends, and as a result, look forward to attending meetings or practices without considering it a burden.
Think about your résumé
Getting involved does not only contribute to your personal growth, it also benefits you professionally. It is not uncommon to join a student group in first year, and after a year or two, obtain an executive position, like VP of Marketing, VP of Events, or even President! Positions like this will be an asset to your résumé, and will allow you to develop skills you need for future jobs and careers, provide experiences and opportunities beyond the classroom, and give you an edge over your competition. When weighing the pros and cons of getting involved, getting home early to watch Netflix may end up being less of a priority if you’re serious about getting your dream job.
How do you plan to get involved at Ryerson as a future commuter?