Commutes can get pretty dull. Ranging anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours, there’s a lot of time to kill at the beginning and end of your day. Then, what do you fill this time with? Here are a few ideas from a fellow commuter.
WHAT NOT TO DO:
In my humble opinion, here’s what you shouldn’t do on your commute:
Yes, yes, I’m aware it’s a very unpopular opinion (after all, shouldn’t you be using your break to organize your day and catch up on readings?) but this is honest advice I believe people should heed.
Put it into perspective: you’re doing work all of the time.
That lunch break you have? You’re planning to do your physics assignment while eating.
That two hour gap after sociology? You’re planning on studying for your psychology test.
Those ten minutes before your math class starts? You’re going to flip through your biology notes for a quick refresher.
Then…when will you give yourself a mental break?
See, commute time is a time when you can zone out with absolutely no consequence. There isn’t a teacher or a TA or a group member breathing down your neck, waiting for your assignment. The rest of your work can happen when you get home. Commute time is like limbo: you’re suspended in time, waiting until you can either get home or go to school. It blissful, it’s relaxing, it’s wonderful.
On a bus, the only thing on your to-do list should be to let your mind drift and clear your thoughts. A rested mind will accept information readily, while a prepared but stressed mind will reject more information.
I use the very strange analogy of a trash can. Over the course of a few days, the garbage can in the kitchen can get REALLY full, but everyone in the household is too lazy to empty it out. You know it’s overflowing but you’re not ready to empty it, so the next time you need to throw something away you futilely shove it in the garbage in an attempt to make room. You keep doing this until you realize that the bottom of the bag has actually ripped and the garbage is coming out. This could have been avoided had you taken out the trash.
Same with knowledge. Over the course of a few days, your brain is filled with information, thoughts, and daydreams that haven’t been processed. You keep trying to shove in more information, which works until you realize you’re starting to forget more important things.
Your daily commute is the perfect time to “take out the trash” and process your thoughts to keep you refreshed throughout the week.
WHAT TO DO
Listen to music
This one’s a pretty obvious one. Download your favourite tracks the night before so you don’t eat up data during the commute, and make sure to invest in a good pair of headphones. I recently bought wireless headphones for $30 online with free shipping, they’ve really made my commute better!
They should really make 8AM classes illegal since it means I have to wake up at 5:40AM to take a 6:40AM bus (no one should have to wake up this early!). Thank goodness the seats are cushy enough to support my falling-asleep-on-the-bus habits. Bonus if you bring a mini blanket with you!
(No joke, I’ve literally brought blankets with me to school before. Absolutely no regrets, and you’ll be the coziest one in class!).
I know, I know, it’s not like you don’t have enough reading to do already, eh? But there’s a huge difference between recreational reading and academic reading; the former is WAY more fun and interesting than the latter and can even be refreshing.
Mosey over to the library and sign out your favourite genre of book or manga, it’ll be great to bury yourself into a good plot and great character development again!
I’ve never tried this, but I’ve been told by many people that it’s an amazing and relaxing thing to do. So, there you have it!
Stare out the window and contemplate the mysteries of the universe
Where else do deep, philosophical, mind-blowing ideas come from? Contemplation breeds contentedness and nourishes the soul.
Have an existential crisis
As defined by good-ol’ Google:
“An existential crisis is a moment at which an individual questions the very foundations of their life: whether this life has any meaning, purpose, or value.”
What better time to do this than your daily commute? The occasional existential crisis does help you become a lot more self-aware, and helps you in your growth during university.
(Of course, I mean this jokingly).
So, lay back, pick your favourite song, and close your eyes for a bit during your next commute. Your mind and body will thank you!
Got any other commuter tips or advice? Leave a comment below!