We are sitting next to you in lecture. We are in line behind you at the Blind Duck. We are ordering coffee at the cash next to you at Tims. We are studying near you in the library until our last bus leaves campus.
We are commuters. We have #commuterproblems. And we are all over campus.
Allow me to make a general statement: UTM is informally known as a commuter campus. The majority of students on campus seem to commute—that is, take some form of public transport to and from school.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard of some faraway lands that our peers commute from: Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon, Markham, Woodbridge, Toronto, Scarborough, Milton—a whole bunch of places in and around the GTA. Think about it: the person sitting next to you in lecture might’ve woken up three or more hours ago to commute.
When I came to university, one of my main goals was to avoid the whole “talking” thing. I know, I know, it’s anti-social but that’s why tutorials terrified me. My voice isn’t loud, I’m alone, and sometimes you get one of those crazy tutorials where everyone is super, duper passionate and, well, you’re not.
Gonna be honest, I didn’t go into my Shakespeare class loving Shakespeare. Not at all. Shakespeare and I actually have a very complicated, long relationship dating back to grade 9 where we first locked eyes. Ever since then, he’s been my enemy and I’ve avoided his work like the plague (even as an English student).
So why did I take a Shakespeare course? Well, I wanted to be BFFs with Old Will and I thought this would be a good way of going about it.
Let’s rewind to my freshman year – September 5th 2012 to be precise. It was the busiest day of Frosh week and I had attended a whopping half an hour out of the entire eleven-hour schedule.
Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy meeting new people – just not in forced program-specific groups, exchanging information about our hobbies and home countries. Unlike my enthusiastic fellow-froshies, I was the perfect blend of awkward and lazy. Group workshops, icebreakers and cheer competitions? I’ll pass.
For this reason, I decided to go only to the last event of the night – Apocalypta Pub or First Pub (which ever one it was called). Apart from the fact that I had friends attending, a party is, in my opinion, a better way to socialize.
Spotted at UTM is strange. There. I’ve said it.
For some context, Spotted at UTM is a Facebook group students can join to anonymously shout out random people at UTM. Most posts are about unrequited love, although you can pretty much say anything you want as long as it’s not incredibly rude.
Don’t talk to strangers. It’s the piece of advice adults instilled in us as a safety precaution, but the more we’re told not to do something, the more we’re inclined to do it. It’s a fact.
Waking up early and getting to class on time can be hard. Sometimes you contemplate if the class is really worth attending. You wonder, is the extra five minutes of sleep worth skipping breakfast? Are the extra ten minutes of sleep worth skipping a shower? Are those glorious eight minutes of sleep worth going to school without a prepared lunch? If I take a later bus and run to the train, then could I sleep for an extra twenty minutes? If you ask yourself these questions in the morning, then not only are you a university student, but you are also one of the unfortunate commuters.
Other signs you’re a commuter:
- You have class at 10 a.m., which, hey! That’s not so bad! Except, you have to leave your house by 8 a.m. to get there – not on time, mind you – but just to be five minutes late. Of course, If you want to arrive at school twenty minutes earlier, then you better leave thirty minutes earlier (thanks to the new GO transit schedules, you no longer have to wait an hour for the next bus).
For those of you who don’t commute, this is an annoying green card that you load up with money to pay for your city transit, GO bus and GO train fare. You cry a little inside as you tap the card against the PRESTO machine and it takes your money to pay for the train fare. The annoying thing about this card is you always have to have a minimum of five dollars on it, and you can only load a minimum of ten dollars. So, you can see how this can be annoying, especially when you’re on the bus and the PRESTO machine beeps obnoxiously and flashes red because you’re twenty cents short of the minimum requirement.
- One or all of your modes of transportation:
You know, taking the bus, to the GO bus, to the train, to the city bus, to school. Then you take the MiWay transit to the train, to the GO bus and then you get picked up by your parents.
Yes, life as a commuter sucks!
There is none. Unless you fork up the money to pay for residence, off-campus housing, or a car with gas and insurance, then I’m afraid this cruel commuting life is all yours for the next four (or let’s be honest, five) years at UTM/St. George/Sheridan College. There is no winning for us commuters.
If GO Transit decides to create a Jetson transporting tube, I’ll let y’all know.
If there’s one thing that’s clear this year (to everyone but the freshmen), it’s that there’s suddenly way too many people on campus. The Starbucks and Tim Horton’s lines literally never end, and you have to wade your way through crowds of people before most classes. Still, there’s one problem that tops both of these annoyances: there’s not enough seats in the cafeteria.
You’re sitting in class, taking notes, comprehending today’s lesson. You stop typing. You gasp. You have absolutely no idea what the professor just explained to the class.
“If you have any questions, stop by my office during office hours or schedule an appointment if those hours don’t work for you,” your professor announces at the end of class.
Scary, isn’t it?
…But, it doesn’t have to be.
There will come a time when you have to make direct contact with your professors. But don’t freak out, professors are there to help you, not hurt you. So stop watching those Frankenstein movies and you won’t feel like a victim. Just follow these guidelines to tackle your anxiety, and talking with your professors will no longer seem like a scene from a horror film:
First things first: RELAX! Never panic or you WILL spill coffee on your beige trousers and the stain will never come off (not that I would know, that’s never happened to me).
If you’ve woken up late, save yourself some time and skip the beauty routine – you look great as it is. This gives you a few spare minutes to make it to class feeling more composed. Hey, being a bed-head beats running in late and tripping on the stairs, right?
Let’s stop using the word “loner.” Yes, I’m serious. And you know why? Because when I googled it, the results were a mixture of girls sitting in the rain (all in black and white for some reason…why?) and quotes about unrequited love, and my brain went into rage mode and so I’ve decided that “loner” is officially banned from my life. People, not all loners are sad people who write love poetry and listen to mellow music! Some even have friends!