How to deal with a long commute to campus

Some days, a long commute to campus can feel overwhelming.

Kathleen Clarke understands, and she shares some (tested) advice for you in Inside Higher Ed.

Clarke is a Ph.D. candidate in higher education at the University of Toronto, and she lives roughly two hours from her institution. Though her choice to live so far from campus has its benefits, she writes, commuting can be emotionally and physically draining, whether you are driving or taking public transit.

She shares three strategies she uses to make the situation work:

1: Find out what will make you feel connected

As a long-distance commuter, you may spend less time on campus, which can make you like you're not truly a part of the campus community. What should you do to feel more connected? The answer will be different for every person, Clarke writes. She suggests you consider attending workshops, a special speaker series, or other activities in your department, she writes.

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2: Expand your network beyond campus

There's a world of people to connect with beyond your own institution. Clarke recommends getting involved in the local chapter of a national organization, joining conversations on social media, or attending a conference. Expanding your professional circle can help you feel more connected to your broader field, no matter how much time you spend on campus.

3: Use your commuting time productively

Your commuting time doesn't have to go to waste. For example, Clarke suggests commuters taking public transit could use time on the bus or train to knock small items off your to-do list for that day, such as organizing your calendar or replying to emails. If you're driving, she suggests you could make hands-free phone calls, listen to podcasts, or take voice-to-text notes. Or if you're not quite in the mood for being productive, you can simply use the time as an opportunity to decompress (Clarke, Inside Higher Ed, 11/6).

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