Week 2: Finding Your Flow
“If you don’t like something, change it.
If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
– Maya Angelou
Museum Station is the prettiest Subway station - a (not so hidden) beauty for commuters!
I think it’s fitting to begin VOCA’s blog series with a post about the hidden beauties of being a commuter student at the University of Toronto. No, I’m not speaking sarcastically, but I will take “overly-optimistic” as a claim against calling the hour-long commute a “beautiful thing.”
Hear me out.
As a first year student making the jarring switch to university life, the hurdles of commuting get grouped in with the other stressors at U of T. Like exams, long readings, and heavy workloads, the commute becomes another thing for us to complain about, and rightly so. What with the TTC, its delays, and its crowded trains, the life of a commuter student may initially come across as miserable and exhausting.
These negative attitudes can undermine your university experience and follow you into future years…but only if you let them. (In spite of the infuriating experience of passengers taking forever to board the subway or being pushed right up against the train doors by overcrowding or being stuck underground due to “Toronto Fire investigations” at a station further down the line) the overall experience of commuting is something that needs to be embraced, and accepted – like a friend!
Turn your time on the TTC into experiences that colour your world.
The Cat's Eye is another great commuter student hang out, listen to music, and play some games!
Ironically, it’s in our complaints about inefficient transit systems that we find one of the first few beauties of being a commuter student – bonding over common struggles! While it may not be the happiest of conversations, you’d certainly have someone to relate to, and have something to talk about.
If you’re not the conversational type and your commute lasts a while, it really doesn’t hurt to force yourself to get some readings done on the ride home. As soon as you get into your reading, it becomes an excellent way to zone out of the hustle and bustle of commuter life, let the time pass smoothly, and reduce your workload.
But the most challenging hurdle of commuter life is the elusiveness of that sense of community. You and I are tiny fish in the ocean that is the University of Toronto, and commuting makes it more difficult to find a place - you're caught between two worlds. This is especially true for new students, who may not be as comfortable with calling any part of campus their “home”.
To that I say, it’s okay – give it some time.
Free pancakes every Wednesday in the Cat's Eye from 10 AM - 2 PM!
This hurdle is the best hidden beauty, and you'll see why. You can start off small. Make use of the study spaces in the Goldring Student Centre, brew yourself a cup of tea in the Commuter Kitchen – heck, bring a blanket and take a nap on the couches in the commuter lounge. This space is yours to use, this space is your home if you make it. Start off with a weekly routine (like Wednesday pancakes) and see yourself grow both as a student, and as an autonomous individual. The journeys you’ll take can be mundane if that’s what you see them as. Or your commute can be the regular prelude to your experiences at U of T and at Victoria College. Whatever the case, our doors are always open.
| Commuter Life Tip : Whenever you exit the subway station by the stairs that
lead to the surface, breathe in the (sort of) fresh air. It feels great after being stuck underground for a while!