Thursday, 29 June 2023

Toronto: A City of Commuters

Picture taken by Liza

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:

Picture taken by Liza

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.

Picture taken by Liza

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!