My family, like many others, made the decision to move out of Toronto and to the last stop on the Lakeshore East GO Train line: Oshawa. Four years later, I return to Toronto as a commuting summer student. Here is what I have learned, and if you are a prospective student thinking about commuting to the city every day for work, this is what you can expect a typical day to look like!
I wake up at 6AM daily, but I arrive at my desk at MB just before 9AM. So, what do I do in those three hours between getting up and starting work? I am WORKING.
"A travelling student is a student who never stops learning."
This is my typical schedule:
6:00 AM: Feed the cat. Complete my mandatory playtime shift (otherwise my furry boss may get cranky).
6:20 AM: Brush teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, and make lunch.
7:00 AM: Out the door! On my drive, I like to listen to my favourite podcasts (my favourite one at the moment is a podcast about abandoned/ extinct amusement parks and why they closed down).
7:25 AM: Arrive at the GO Station and find parking in time to catch the 7:30 train. I have quickly learned that trains are the emptiest on Mondays and Fridays. I leave my house early the rest of the week because it can get PACKED on that train, and the further I have to park, the more likely I will miss my train! On the train, I will check and respond to my personal emails, solidify my after-work plans, then watch a documentary that will wake me up for the day. I am registered to take the MPRE in August, so I will also listen to MPRE lessons or do practice quizzes.
8:30 AM: Arrive at Union. I am finding my way around the never-ending station and can confidently find the exits closest to MB.
8:45 AM: Arrive at MB. Walking provides an opportunity to check out the PATH on my way to work, which means I can pinpoint exactly where I want to go for my break (one day, I may even know how to fully navigate the infamous PATH)!
5:00 – 6:00 PM: Wrap up work for the day. The time I finish usually varies, and I do my best to finish 15 minutes ahead of the next scheduled GO Train.
6:00 PM: A couple times a week, I will walk to a nearby yoga studio. It really takes your mind off the impending crowded GO Train I will have to catch home.
7:25 PM: Catch the GO Train home. I will watch movies or TV shows on the train, I have found many new favourites this way.
8:25 PM: Drive home while listening to music or chatting with a friend on the phone.
9:30 PM: Go to bed to do it all over again tomorrow!
As you can see, the commute is strenuous and takes up a big chunk of my day. However, I get a LOT done on my commute, and it has taught me how to practically manage my time and how to effectively adapt to my surroundings so that they will never be a barrier to what I want to get done! If I am late for yoga or the train, they will go on without me. This kind of pressure has allowed me to find the self-discipline I need to meet the timelines I have set for myself in both my professional and personal life. So, if you are thinking of commuting, do it. You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself!