How to Survive Long Commutes

If you’re lucky, you have a ten-minute walk to campus – and the rest of us envy you. Seriously. Commuting can be the most time consuming and tedious part of university for a lot of students. Here are some of the most productive ways to make the most of your travels.

Before the Journey

1. Organise your bag.
Don’t leave it until the following morning! You will probably miss your transport or completely forget something.
2. Make lunch the night before.
If you’re making a sandwich or taking a dish that needs to be reheated, leave it in the fridge overnight. Stick a sticky note on your bag to remind yourself!
3. Check your timetable
Checking the timetable the night before and setting a few alarms for the following morning will help. For example, I set my first alarm roughly two hours before I need to be at the train stop with alarms at 10 minute intervals. Try and catch a particular bus/train/tram frequently – it’ll stop the last minute rush and panic of trying to work out if you’ll get to uni on time.

 

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During the Journey

1. Lecture Revision Time
The only reason I manage to keep my lecture notes up to date is because I have so much spare time on the train. Check the LMS the night before (or designate a block of time in the morning) to download any lectures or readings onto an electronic device so that you can run through the notes beforehand. If you catch the V/Line service, the second carriage always has a few seats with a little fold out desk, which are a godsend whether you have a laptop or an exercise book. Even if you’re just typing up and adding comments to sections on the lecture slides, all preparation will be useful.
2. Tutorial Preparation
If you’ve prepared everything for your lectures, work on your tutorials! Carry a spare small pencil case in your bag for readings, with items like pens, pencils and highlighters, and write some dot points for any tutorial questions in the coming week. Writing a little summary on the readings can also help if you’re unsure about the content.
3. Assignments
You may not have time to write a 2,000 word essay (no matter how long the journey feels!), but preparing an outline or dot pointing the main elements of your assignments can help in the long run and a train journey is a perfect time for it.
4. Diary Planning and Revising
In that 20- minute tram ride up to the university, it’s not enough time to prepare for classes, but it is useful for jotting down important dates, remembering extra plans you have for the day/week and that last minute study cram before an exam (I don’t recommend the latter).
5. Relax!
If you’ve finished preparing for the day/week or your lecture content won’t load (like all the time), spend some time relaxing. Spend some time reading, listening to music or browsing Unimelb Adventures… Leave it to the end of the journey as a reward so you’re not distracted.

Apps and Ideas for iPads/Tablets:

My iPad is the reason I manage to stay organised. You can put absolutely everything on them and they’re only a small amount of money to invest in. Make the most of your student discounts!
1. Consider investing in a small Bluetooth keyboard to type up notes if you don’t want to lug around a massive laptop all day. It’ll save your back in the long run!
2. Pages and OneNote are great for note typing and iBooks and Adobe Reader are great for downloading lecture slides.
3. Small tablets and iPad minis only take up a small amount of room on lecture desks and on the train (if they have desks) or they can sit on your lap.
4. Cloud services such as Google Drive, iCloud and Dropbox can be great if you want to transfer lecture slides to your main computer when you arrive home.

 

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Remember that even Spider Man has to take serious measures on public transport…

Happy commuting!

– Rosemary

 

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