How to Make Your Commute to School Productive

For those of us who don’t necessarily live on campus, the commute on the bus, metro or train can be quite long and exasperating. My commute takes, on average, a little over one hour in each direction. It can be frustrating knowing that several hours of precious time that could be spent studying, socializing, working or having extracurriculars, are spent sitting on public transportation. The good news is that it doesn't have to be this way. In fact, there’s several ways to make your commute productive, and dare I say, tolerable.

Take easily and accessible notes

Every semester, professors will say that the best way to learn and absorb information taught in class is to read over your notes before and/or after class. Every semester, we think there’s no time for that. On the contrary, sitting on the bus is the perfect opportunity to do this. By bringing your notebook with (hopefully) complete notes, you can easily read last class’ notes. This will not only make the time fly by, but it will be much easier to study the material later on at home.


Buy loose leaf textbooks

Lugging a 1000 page hardback textbook back and forth to school is not an easy task. I’ve found that loose leaf textbooks, if available, are the most cost-effective way to buy textbooks. As opposed to normal hardback textbooks, loose leaf textbooks are not bound such that the pages can be separated and best of all, they’re cheaper. The pages have a three-hole punch, making it easy to put the pages in a binder to keep them together. If you have a 30 page reading to do, for example, you can take out only those 30 pages, bring them along with you and complete the reading during your commute.


Coordinate with a friend

An hour in public transportation can be really boring. If a friend of yours happens to take the same route as you to school, coordinate with them to go together. This can be a great opportunity to catch up with them and if they’re in a class with you, study and review material together too. (You also tend not to start counting minutes when you’re having fun.)

If all else fails, just close your eyes

With running between buildings, sitting in lectures and late-night studying, it’s easy to fall behind on rest and getting much needed “you-time”. Sometimes the best thing to do is have a playlist of your favourite music, close your eyes and have time to relax and let your mind wander.

So yes, the commute may be irritating at times, but it certainly doesn't have to feel like a waste of time.