Tag Archives: commuting

Make the most of your commute

As seen on the UBC FYI blog.

Confession: fall at UBC is my favourite time and place of the year.

There’s literally nothing to dislike about it. The weather is nice, I have a new set of school supplies (seriously, nothing beats fresh notebooks), and there are so many opportunities out there!  Student life is at its most vibrant at this time of year.

As a commuter student, I often find myself torn: do I stay at school to immerse myself in this crazy amazing atmosphere—or do I go home to get some work done, unwind, and of course get some much needed sleep?

The struggle is so real.

So every term, I do three things:

First, I scope out the ultimate spot for studying and relaxing. Sometimes it’s Brock Hall, other times it’s an unused classroom in Woodward IRC. In the long hours between classes, I need somewhere I can be comfortable!

Secondly, I plan out my bus route to a T. With two hours of public transit a day, I need to make the most of my commute by minimizing the time spent waiting at the bus stop, and using the bus ride to do something useful (i.e. nap time! Or studying time, if you’re into that).

Lastly, I find friends who have similar schedules to mine. Staying late at school to study is fun, but studying with friends is better!

I’m super excited for this year. Are you?

That time I rode a party bus to school

Yesterday’s morning transit was unusual, to say the least.

Usually, I take the Skytrain from Burnaby all the way to the VCC-Clark station, where I’d rush off to catch the 84 bus. I had expected that morning’s commute to be no different.

When the Skytrain pulled into the Commercial-Broadway station, however, it stopped on the other side—the side headed back where I had come from.

Obviously, I wasn’t going to stick around and find out if the train was really heading back east. Thus, I exited with all the other commuters and lined up for the 99 B-line Express although it doesn’t feel very express. As usual, I passed up on the first bus that came by in order to get a seat. 

A minute later, a big, black bus with decorated windows pulled up to the curb. Oi, I thought this was a public transit stop only!

Blacked out windows do not a creeper vehicle necessarily make.

A couple of well-dressed dudes hopped out and cheerfully shouted, “who wants to go straight to UBC?”

Oh. Well…

So after .54238 seconds of hesitation, I got on, unsure of whether I would actually make it to class today or if I was going to be a victim of a public mass murder. Hey, I have an active imagination.

The bus was decked out with streamers, red bull, and balloons. There were faded leather seats, and at least one onboard washroom.

Is EVERYTHING at UBC sponsored by Red Bull?

Once everyone was seated and the bus started pulling away from the stop, the men introduced themselves as “kind of” from the AMS, and told us that the free rental bus that we were sitting in was a thing to promote their campaign for better, more reliable transit. Their only request was that we texted a number (given to us at the time) to sign a petition.

I think the majority of the bemused commuters ended up texting the petition, but there wasn’t really a huge obligation to do so. From what I could tell, it was a multi-step process of texting my name and email to the petition line. Sidenote: I’m still not sure if I’ll actually do so.

What felt like 40 or so total strangers squished up on a cozy bus. Look at ’em, getting all friendly with their fellow passengers.

Just half an hour (and 5 major bus stops—Cambie, Granville, Macdonald, Alma, Sasamat) later, I stepped off the bus and onto the plaza north of the SUB.

People lining up for interviews at UBC

People lining up for interviews. Such an exciting ordeal!

And that’s the story of how I got to class 20 minutes early! Man, was I glad I’d waited.

For more information and a more accurate description, read the Ubyssey’s article.

84 Bus Stall

Something weird happened on the way home this afternoon.

Normally, I prefer taking the 84 bus to VCC-Clark, and then Skytrain-ing it home (yep, just made Skytrain a verb). It’s a relatively fast, smooth ride, and I nearly always fall asleep on the bus.

This afternoon, however, my transit home was not so smooth.  At the Cambie stop, the bus driver announced that it was his last stop, and we all had to get off the bus and take some other shuttle to go to the VVC-Clark station. Of course we couldn’t really argue with him, so everyone got off the bus and lined up at the bus stop sign.

It was a good thing I woke up from my usual nap just in time to hear his announcement, otherwise I would have felt very silly. Since I was still a little dazed, I missed his reasoning for why we had to get off.

We ended up waiting in the light drizzle for about 5-10 minutes before another, empty 84 bus came. This we took to be our shuttle, and thank goodness because I was starting to get worried it was. After all the people from my bus got onto the new bus, another 84 bus pulled up behind and dropped more people off. All these people crammed into the new bus and off we went.

I noticed that we didn’t stop at the normal 84 stops, either. Strange, strange, strange.

The moral of this story is that you should leave lots of time for transit. You never know when a bus might break down, get stuck in snow, or leave you stranded on the side of the road for a period of time.

Came home late tonight…

And all I want to do is sleep for years. Blargh.

G’night, everybody!

The First Days

For me, the first days of university incited a whirlwind of emotions.  I felt excited with the prospect of meeting new people, but I felt fear at the thought of rejection.  I felt anxious about getting to class on time, while I also felt bored standing amidst a a gaggle of commuters on the bus.  I felt dread upon hearing of heavy coursework, yet I felt eager to start learning.  And when I sat down for my first ever lecture, I felt very, very small and lost.

But the lonely feelings will pass.  I am sure of it, because KIN FROSH IS COMING TOMORROW.

Whoever create the Kin FROSH website did a great job, because I’m psyched! Camping for two nights in Squamish? Team bonding activities? More time away from my parents?  Oh, yes!

It’ll be the best chance for me to get to really know people in my faculty, which is especially important because I’m not staying in residence, unfortunately.  Meeting in people in class is fine, but I have the feeling that I’m not going to see many of the people I sat beside during lectures often.  So here’s to friends and faculty bonding and other fun stuff during FROSH!

One last note before the weekend: the Chapman Learning Commons (actually, the whole library in general) was packed during lunchtime.  There was a line just to use the public computers, and all the seating space was taken up.  From what I saw, I suggest that if you simply must work at lunch time, you should bring your own laptop.  No lines + the flexibility of sitting anywhere + added security!