Growing up in the Fraser Valley, I am used to commuting 30+ minutes for everything. Going into Vancouver almost always consisted of either spending over an hour on a bus or begging my parents to give me a ride. In the past, I have always been able to cram all of my classes on the same days, meaning the long transit ride to campus only ever happened a couple of days a week.
However, after landing a co-op position in Metro Vancouver, I had to get used to nearly three hours on public transit every day, Monday to Friday. I had to figure out a way to make it work. So, coming from an experienced commuter, here are my tried and true tips to make that long commute a little easier.
1. Find a Podcast.
If you are not already familiar with them, podcasts are basically radio shows that give you a choice of topics to listen to. You can find podcasts on almost anything you could think of. Whether you need some motivation, some fitness tips, or even daily podcasts on current events, there is something for everyone. On my commute, I’ve learned about true crime mysteries, money management and investing, and probably too much about the reality show, The Bachelor. Best of all, they are free!
2. Read the News.
As a student, I admit that I am not always caught up on current events. With exams, papers and assignments, there is a lot of information being thrown our way and it can be difficult to stay up to date with what’s going on in the world. However, with no lectures or homework, co-op is the perfect opportunity to start. There are free copies of The Star newspaper being distributed at every major skytrain and bus station during morning rush hour, so why not take a few minutes to get caught up.
3. Get Caffeinated.
Bringing a coffee (or tea) on your commute not only saves you money, but saves you time. Preparing your cup before you leave in the morning means that you don’t have to spend money at the coffee shop and that by the time you arrive to work, you’ll be energized and ready to go. You will have that pep in your step when you walk in the door and you will have much more productive mornings.
4. Get Enough Sleep.
When you have a long commute, it can be easy to sacrifice sleep for more personal time. That one extra episode of Game of Thrones doesn’t seem like much, but you will feel that loss of an hour when you wake up the next morning. Sleep is not for the weak.
Use your rush hour commute as an opportunity to take a little time to yourself. Commuting can be stressful and anxiety inducing for a lot of people, but it may be the only time when you have nothing to do in the day. It can be an opportunity to practice mindfulness or meditation and unplug for a while. Try your best to take advantage of the time you have.