The disadvantages of long commutes to school

The struggle of distance is real

The struggle of distance is real. Graphic Joey Bruce

Concordia gathers students across all parts of the Greater Montreal area. While the choice to study at a university downtown might seem enticing for students who live outside the city, the commute can be quite lengthy.

The Link spoke with students from the Greater Montreal area, and asked them about their relationship to the city.

Zulfath Zarah Faiz, second-year psychology student 

Lives in: Dollard-des-Ormeaux, West Island

Commute time: one hour 30 minutes

During the commute, Faiz usually listens to music, or studies. However, she said she isn’t able to do much work on the bus. “Since I’m not very comfortable in the city, I have to [pay] more attention to my surroundings because of construction and other factors,” she said.

Faiz recognizes how much this commute affects her. She said it is so tiring that once she gets back home, she isn’t able to do any work. “What I did this week is I woke up at 6 a.m., left my house at 6:45 a.m., got to school at 7:30 a.m., and I just stayed there studying all day,” she said. 

Andrzej Fedorowicz, first-year computer science student 

Lives in: Candiac, South Shore 

Commute time: one hour 15 minutes 

“[Going back] is usually the harder part because I just wanna go home,” Fedorowicz said about how his commute affects him. 

Fedorowicz went to Dawson College, and said he finds the commute bearable because he’s been doing it for five years. However, the 2020 lockdown made him realize certain negative aspects of his commute. “The first couple of months of lockdown, I wasn’t complaining too much,” he said. “I didn’t have to wake up two hours in advance for an 8 a.m. class.” 

When it comes to experiencing student life on campus, he has changed his approach since his first semester. “Last semester I basically just went to class and then went straight back home, but this semester I started to do the opposite,” he said. 

Kassia Scotti, first-year English literature student

Lives in: Laval

Commute time: one hour

When she’s mentally prepared for it, Scotti does class readings during her commute. Otherwise, she tries to commute with her sister or a friend to make the time feel less exhausting. “Even at Dawson, I would line up my schedule to have at least a few classes with someone I could commute with,” she said. 

Scotti also mentioned how the length of her commute often results in her getting to class late. Because she has to get up at 6 a.m. or earlier for a morning class, and because it takes her longer to get back home at the end of the day, her sleep schedule is constantly irregular. This causes her punctuality to also be unpredictable. “The commute does weigh me down, which I didn’t realize until online school [began],” she said. “I had so much more time to do my homework and sleep regular hours. I didn’t like online school, but you don’t realize how many hours in the day you lose while commuting.” 

Since Scotti is so far from the city, she feels like she can’t control when she gets home at the end of her day. Because of this, she said she doesn’t like to waste time once she’s done with school, and prefers going straight home. 

Regardless of where these students reside, the struggles of their commute are shared.

This article originally appeared in The Sidewalk Issue, published April 5, 2022.