As of late, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from prospective Ryerson students about how to survive the “commuter crisis.” I would best describe this term as an experience faced by students who need to commute to campus. These experiences could include long travel times, transit delays, over crowding, early mornings, etc… to put things in perspective, take me as an example. I live about an hour and a half away from campus, and every morning I need to commute that duration to get to campus. In order for me to make a 9 a.m. class, I have to wake up at 6:30 a.m., take an hour to get ready and then another half hour to commute to campus, not even to mention having to deal with notorious TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) delays and Toronto traffic. This indeed gets stressful as the school year goes on, and I’ve become numb to it. However, I have tips on how to survive the commuter crisis if you plan on commuting to campus.
Go to Sleep Earlier and Wake Up Earlier
I know this one sounds pretty obvious, but it’s actually very important. Of course if you sleep earlier, you avoid morning fatigue and the fight to get out of bed; however, if you go to sleep earlier and actually wake up earlier, this allows you to leave the house earlier than normal, which puts you at an advantage because you are dodging the morning rush hour. It’s a big bonus because you may actually arrive on campus earlier to get extra work done. Funny/not so funny story: I once arrived late to a lecture, and was a called out by the prof (which rarely happens). I tried to get him to empathize with my situation by giving a colour commentary of my morning commute–from waking up to arriving on campus–only to be told that I could have checked the news and woken up earlier to avoid the water main break that was delaying my commute. Moral of the story? There are no exceptions for students who commute.
Keep Yourself Entertained
When commuting to campus, I usually download a podcast or Netflix episode on my phone to make time pass. When I pair my favorite podcast, The Brilliant Idiots, with a game of Subway Subway Surfer, it literally feels as if I’ve stepped into a portal that shortens my commute by 75 percent. By distracting yourself with some type of media, you become too occupied to be frustrated about how long of a commute you have.
Get Extra Sleep
You can compensate for having to wake up earlier by actually sleeping during your commute. I caution you to be aware of your surroundings when on public transit as it may not be the safest thing to sleep on your commute, but most people do it anyways. To be honest, when I sleep on the bus, I usually keep my phone in a pocket and clutch my bag (which also makes a great remix pillow, in my opinion). It’s also important to make sure you don’t actually sleep past your stop!
Schedule Later Classes
Other than having mandatory 8 a.m. classes during my first year, I purposely organized my class schedule to avoid having to wake up really early, because I’m usually still on campus in the evening–either studying or getting extra work done, which means I get home quite late. A trick I use all the time is as follows: during course intentions, I select about 6-8 courses for the semester, and when class times are made available, I’m able to keep and drop classes from multiple options that suit my preferences.
Being a commuter student may be stressful at times, but it doesn’t have to get in the way of fully enjoying your University experience. I hope these tips make for a (pun definitely intended) smoother commute.