As you guys already know, I lived with my parents in my first year of college. It saved me a lot of money, but I spent a good amount of time commuting. It took 15-20 minutes to drive to the station (Longer on the way back because of traffic) and a half-hour train ride to school. Even though I spent 1.5-2 hours commuting every day, it didn’t feel like a waste of time. This is because I always had something to do. Here are some things I do to make the most of my commute.
1//Listen To Audiobooks
Depending on traffic, my drive to the train station takes between 15-30 minutes. Atlanta is a driving city, so traffic is pretty finicky. At the beginning of my freshman year, I would listen to the radio, but would quickly get bored of the same music playing over and over again. That’s when I decided to try audiobooks. I know a lot of bloggers preach about Audible, but I personally always check out audiobooks for free from the library. If the audiobook isn’t there, I borrow the digital version from Overdrive, which is connected to my local library. Let’s be honest, we’re all poor college students here. We can’t afford $14.95 per audiobook.
(Those aren’t affiliate links by the way. Just full disclosure. I just put them there to make it easier for you to find them.)
2//Read A Book
I always read on the train. It’s my favorite pass time. I’ve read significantly more this year because I have an hour of reading time blocked out every week day. I absolutely love it! It’s a fun and productive use of my time.
3//Walk Or Ride A Bike To School
This isn’t a possibility for me, but I’ve seen a lot of people who live in the city bike to class. I met a guy who said he had lost 25 lbs just by biking everywhere. It’s great exercise.
I made it a personal conviction never to use the school shuttle. I walked everywhere until it was too cold to. I loved it. I saw so much more of my campus and Atlanta that way.
Safety Tip – To avoid catcalling and people asking me for money, I would put on sunglasses, headphones, and a ball cap (which I wore all the time anyway). Keep a blank face and keep walking. After being in the city for a while, I didn’t need to do it anymore. It was probably because I had mastered keeping a blank face, but it was probably because I didn’t look like a person who had never been there before.
4//Study For Class
Whenever I had a test, I would study (*cough* cram) on the train. It was a good use of my time and I had half an hour anyway. I didn’t do this often because I liked my designated reading time, but I’d study during my commute whenever I needed to.
5//Carpool With A Friend
This is both entertaining and good for the environment. Having someone to talk to is always a nice treat. I loved it when I ran into friends on the train because it was nice to catch up. (Though sometimes, the introvert in me thought, “Leave me alone. I’m reading.”) Even so, talking to a friend is a great way to make the most of your commute.
Related – The Struggle Of Transitioning Into College –
I usually didn’t do homework on the train, but I saw many students who did. It’s an efficient way to spend your time and you’ll have more time to relax at home.
7//Listen To A Podcast
8//Catch Up With Someone On The Phone
I would do this with my friend Stellah in the car. She goes to a college in a different city in Georgia, but she might as well be on the other side of the country considering we used to talk every day. Since life sometimes gets in the way and we both suck at texting, we made an effort to talk on the phone sometime in our second semester. I’d just put her on speaker and drive home. It made car rides a lot more entertaining. We didn’t do this all the time, but it was always exciting when we did.
Stellah’s Blog – Fiercely Living
Her Guest Post – 8 Ways To Reduce Stress (As A Student)
9//Plan Out Your Day
You don’t necessarily need to write it down (You should do that the night before), but it’s nice to picture what you’re day is going to look like in the morning. I usually did this in the morning while getting ready or on my walks to class, but it can also be done on you’re commute.
Related – Day In Life Of A College Freshman –
10//Listen To Music
I know that I totally dissed music in the “Audiobook” point, but I did listen to music on my commute. If I was getting bored of an audiobook, I would turn on the radio. I’d also listen to music on the train in between books because sometimes you need time to process what you’ve read instead of moving on to the next book.
11//Catch Up On The News
I think it’s important to know what’s going on and I’ve been watching the news significantly more in the last two years. I also think it’s important to get both sides of the story, so I listen to the news on my car radio. Radio news in Atlanta is very conservative. Listening to it makes me understand why many people think a certain way. I think everyone should listen to other types of news outlets, otherwise, you are in a bubble. I think my desire to do this is because I live in Georgia and am around people who voted for Trump who are kind and aren’t malicious towards me in a racist or sexist way. I’m glad because growing up here has made me more open minded in that I know most people are good despite their political beliefs. Many people can’t see that.
Whoo! That was a long digression I didn’t plan. I might delete it later on, but I think it’s something worth talking about. Now back to our scheduled programming.
12//Check Social Media
I’m not really a social media person, but I do check it almost every day. I’ve never been one to spend hours scrolling through, but I do try to keep up. I usually check Instagram and Facebook while waiting on the platform for the train. That takes me like five minutes.
13//Sing In The Car
I do this ALL THE TIME. I learned this from my dad. He says that singing during road trips wakes him up and energizes him. I feel the same way. Whenever there’s traffic on the way home, I sing at the top of my lungs. It’s very entertaining. I sing English songs, Bangla songs, Hindi songs… whatever floats my boat. I’m not the greatest singer, but I’m not bad which is probably why I enjoy it so much. If it sounded really bad, I’d stop, but the best part is, there’s no one in the car, so sing like no one’s listening.
14//Talk To A Stranger
Since most people in Atlanta commute to work by driving, the train passengers contain mostly travelers and college students. And I think those are the most interesting people to talk to (when you’re my age). It’s a lot easier to strike up a conversation with a stranger than you think. You’d be surprised how many people are open to it.
I didn’t blog on the train often, but a lot of the posts you saw in my second semester were written on the train. I didn’t have the time or desire to write a lot in my second semester, as you’ll see in my archives. I only wrote 10 posts in those four months which isn’t a lot compared to my previous schedule. Since I had time on the train, I traded some of my reading time for some blogging time. That really helped.
16//Just Look Out The Window And Enjoy The Scenery
Part of my route to school is above ground, so I was able to look out the train window on my way to school. I tried to enjoy that time before we went underground. Whenever I didn’t feel like reading, I would put my headphones in and lean into the window. After a few months, I knew which windows were the best to sit by because the sun wouldn’t get into your eye. It was great.
Did I miss anything? What do you do on your college commute?