How I Survived 4 Years of Commuting to School

Ryerson is known as a commuter school, which means a lot of students choose to live at home and travel to and from school everyday. During my four years here, I have been an active member of the commuter community on campus. I’ve used public transportation to travel from my home on the east side of the city to class then make the trek home again – sometimes as late as 11PM if I stayed back for a project/student group meeting. While my one hour and fifteen-minute commute is not the longest travel time you’ll hear about (some students travel two hours, one way to get to school), I have figured out how to survive the commute. Here are some of my tips!

Figure Out the Fastest Route Early 

Depending on where you live, you may have multiple route options to choose from. It took me some time, and a few unnecessarily long train rides, to figure out the quickest way to get to school. Take some time during your first year (or maybe during the summer break, if you’re feeling extra productive) to test out a few different paths and figure out which one is the best for your schedule!

Swap Out the Playlist for Something New


Source: GIPHY

As soon as most students (and commuters in general) step onto the train, they put on their headphones and cue up their playlist. This used to be my go-to activity, but over the past year I’ve become bored of listening to the same music over and over. I’ve changed my travel entertainment to eBooks (which most public libraries will let you download for free) and more often, podcasts. After the success of Serial, free podcasts have been popping up left and right. There’s one on every topic imaginable, and you can look for ones that feed into your interests or teach you something new. Taking a break from my music and looking to other sources of entertainment has helped me look forward to my commute rather than dread it.

Get a Locker

You’re not going to have a nice trip home if you have to carry a ton of stuff with you. If you don’t need to take all your books, files, and projects home with you that day, think about getting a free locker on campus to store your things. During the first few weeks of the school year, students in certain programs have priority on the lockers. However, after the third Friday in September, they are officially free for all on a first come, first serve basis! There are a few rules you have to follow to keep your locker, which you can read up on here. Think about claiming a locker to make your bag a little lighter.

Use it for Last Minute Studying

Whether you’re heading to school for your midterm or have a quiz coming up the following week, your travel time can be a great opportunity to catch up on readings or study, leaving less to do at home. Even studying for 20 minutes during your commute can save you time later on. My favourite way to study when I’m on the go is to download my lecture PowerPoints and notes onto the Google Drive app on my phone. A delayed bus or train isn’t going to stop you from getting that A+!

Turn it into Nap Time 

Sleep is great, and sometimes during an early morning or after a long day I like to close my eyes, sway to the smooth path of the subway tracks, and take a nap. Obviously, this comes with a warning: there may have been one or two times when I have almost missed my stop because I was fast asleep. It takes a little while to train (no pun intended) your body to wake up a few stops before your destination, so be careful!

Featured Image: MTV

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