Commuter survival guide

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]hout out to all the students living in Pickering, Markham, Brampton, Oakville, and beyond. The struggle is real. U of T is a hardcore commuter school, but commuters often feel left out of campus life. Fortunately, these past couple of years travelling on the beloved TTC have taught me a thing or two to share.

First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that on Mondays through Saturdays, the TTC trains run from 6:00 am to 1:30 am, and most buses run from 6:00 am to 1:00 am. On Sundays, trains run from 8:00 am to 1:30 am, while buses run 9:00 am to 1:00 am.

Write down these times somewhere — they come in handy when you’re deciding whether to crash at a friend’s place or how much time you need to get downtown early on a Sunday.

In my first year, my student liaison mentioned that you should always have something to do on the subway: sleep, read, or listen to music. Do something, because if you stand — or sit when you’re lucky — in that crowded, rickety subway with nothing to do, you will quickly lose your patience. If you have some leeway with time, stick around campus to beat rush hour and leave for home after the worst of the crowds are gone.

Of course, the commute itself is not the only problem — so are the 8:00 am classes. Often, there is no time for a healthy breakfast and trudging a huge bag around campus all day sucks. So does not getting to attend late-night events and having on-residence friends who rarely understand the trials. However, none of this means we cannot enjoy life at U of T.

Be sure to check out places commuters and on-res students alike can hang out, such as the commuter lounges. Most colleges have lounges with couches, a TV, or a foosball table. My favourites are the Innis, New College, and University College lounges. Innis even has plastic cutlery for when you urgently need some.

It is also important to make friends with students living on residence. They can let you crash for the night if their residence allows it, and they can get you access to exclusive perks. For example, my commuter friends and I play pool in the Innis residence because our friend lets us in.

Most importantly, keep an eye out for free food events. Both UTSG and UTSC have active Facebook groups dedicated to free food events. There are also fun events organized by college student associations, sometimes specifically for commuters. Innis had a free TTC Metropass draw every month, so watch out for similar contests.

Finally, have a great time, meet new people, and enjoy U of T as much as you can.