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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Commuting vs. Off-campus Living

May 6, 2021

During my time at Ontario Tech University, I switched between commuting and living off-campus depending on my course load. As a commuter, a one-way trip was an hour and a half on both the Go Bus and TTC and as a student off-campus, it took just a short walk to be on campus.

Since I have experience in each, I have noticed that there are a few subtle differences between the two.

Preparing for the Journey

I was super fortunate to be living about a five to fifteen-minute walk from campus, so if I ever had a large break I would usually head home and get some work done or make a meal. However, when I was commuting I noticed that I needed to be prepared for the whole time I was there. That meant that I had to make sure I had enough food for the day, money on my presto card to avoid missing the bus because of a lack of funds, my headphones, my wallet and something to do during long breaks or during the commute.

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I know that this might seem like I am overdoing it, but I like to be prepared for anything, especially if it means I’d have to spend more money to make an additional trip just because I forgot or needed something later.

Time Spent on Campus

While I was living off-campus I found it easier to commit to extra-curricular activities (i.e. clubs and societies on campus) since I was closer. On the other hand, when I was commuting, I was more hesitant about joining anything since commuting was already taking up my time, therefore I ended up being extremely picky about what I wanted to do. This was a blessing and a curse because I either didn’t join anything or I was joining something that I was super passionate about.

In addition, I was also arranging my days in order to commute fewer times in the week. One thing I did was to cram all of my classes in a few days of the week in order to get a free day or two. I also tried to arrange group meetings during the days I was on campus. After all, it meant that I didn’t have to spend money and time commuting.

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The one main challenge I faced as a commuter, was finding a place to study. During peak hours it was super difficult to find a quiet place to concentrate, but after several failed attempts at the library and fishbowl, I fell in love with the Hive Café. I know what you are thinking: “There are no outlets there, how can you get anything done?” Simple. I would charge my laptop during lectures and once I was done I would head over to the Hive with a full battery that would last for about three hours.

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Social Interactions

Let’s be real, university can be extremely lonely if you don’t have ANY social interactions (or very little). And yes, both off-campus and commuting can be lonely.

As a commuter, there were plenty of times where I had to chase the bus coming in the next five minutes while I was across campus or in SIRC. And most of the time, I would leave the moment the lecture is done just so I wouldn’t have to wait for the next bus. On the other hand, once I did meet someone through group projects and found out that they went on the same bus as myself, we ended up sitting together which gave us the opportunity to have longer and more meaningful conversations.  

As a student who was off-campus, there were times when I wasn’t as close to my roommates which lead me to spend an unhealthy amount of time by myself.

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Eventually, I learned that a simple “hey, how’s your day going?” can be a great conversation starter or at least get people to warm up to you.

Motivation & Study Habits

Personally, I am more motivated to get things done when I see other people getting things done. That meant staying on campus for as long as I could would be the best option, but most of the time I just wanted to stay at home and be comfy while being productive. Therefore, in both situations, I had to find motivation from somewhere else, which was usually finding something that is interesting about the course/assignment or feeling the pressure after procrastinating.

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On the other hand, some of my study habits were very different for each.

While commuting I was always on time for my classes and I skipped very few which made sense since the bus to campus only came about every hour and I would miss class if I didn’t get it. On the contrary, I was usually late or missing class while I was living off-campus since it was only a few minutes away and I thought I would make it on time or I would rather not go outside that day.

The real question is which one better? And the answer is that it really depends on the individual.

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I know peers who choose to commute because they wanted to save money and be close to their family. I also know peers who choose to live a few minutes off-campus because they wanted to spend the extra time being more present in the campus community. But there are also students who don’t have the option to commute because they live extremely far. So, it really does depend on the individual and what they want their day-to-day to look like.

It’s also worth noting that this was my experience, I’m sure if I lived further away from campus when I was commuting this would be a completely different story, but these are just some of the subtle differences that I have noticed.

By Anthea Ariyajeyam