November 26, 2011

Life of a Commuting Student: The Essentials

Baby, it’s cold outside.

Winter is fast approaching, and it is important to be fully prepared. Sources say that this winter is supposedly set to be the harshest and coldest one yet! Whether you walk to school, bike, drive, or take public transit, there are some necessities to include in your backpack and have on you at all times.

In case of emergency (ie: the bus breaks down and you get stranded in the middle of nowhere, or you find yourself stuck in traffic amidst a snow storm), having the following essentials would certainly come in handy. This list of must-haves caters especially to those who, like me, rely on public transit to travel to and from school.


Probably one of the most important things you would want to have on you in the event of an emergency is a sufficient stash of food and water. Keeping yourself well nourished and constantly hydrated are important.ย  Be sure to have a lot of easy-to-eat snacks such as chips, granola bars, cookies, and the like, plus a full water bottle. The worst thing that could happen is for you to have your bus break down and be stuck for hours relying on solely your saliva to quench your thirst.

SPOTTED in Canadian Tire – Emergency Chocolate


Unless you are the type of commuter who likes to sleep through the duration of the bus ride (in which case, please be wary of the time and try not to miss your stop), a few forms of entertainment would be nice to have on you as well. Some things that can be found in my backpack more often than not include:

  • Book(s) – For leisure, not a textbook …unless you get really desperate.
  • Newspaper – Any residual 24 hoursย orย Metro papers that previous passengers happened to leave on their seats are just as dandy.
  • Crossword, sudoku, notebook – To keep your hands busy and your brain active.
  • Mobile gaming device – *Try to restrain from reacting aloud. That may startle the other passengers around you.
  • An all-in-one entertainment device that I cannot leave the house without is my trusty iPod Touch. Not only does it fill my ears with sweet music, it also streams television episodes, movies, or podcasts I may happen to have loaded onto it. It also serves as an excellent gaming device!
    (Check out some neat iPhone game packs here)

*Note: be sure to keep your devices fully charged, or bring your charger! And don’t forget your headphones.

Anatomy of a Backpack – What's in yours?

Good Company

Warm-hearted friends make up for the cold weather. It’s always nice to have a bus buddy to keep you company throughout the bus ride. Whether it be exchanging stories (or gossip) in person or via a lengthy phone call/iMessage/BBM convo, keeping yourself actively engaged in a conversation can help keep your mind off the treacherous weather. Ensure that either of you have a stack of cue cards with topics to discuss beforehand though, otherwise an awkward silence may ensue.


I suppose if your level of boredom hits an all time low and you have neither a single form of entertainment nor that token friend whom you can talk hours on the phone to, hitting the books could be an option. With the right attitude and mindset, you would be surprised at how productive a single bus ride can be!

Proper Attire

Every commuter knows that, in order to brave the harsh weather, lugging around the abovementioned essentials coupled with wearing the right attire are the way to go. Needless to say, staying bundled up from head to toe and covering your body with more layers than an onion is a good idea. It’s also nice to have a spare pair of gloves or mitts.

(Click to enlarge)

Ever find yourself in an unfortunate travel situation under harsh weather conditions? How did you cope with it and pass the time?

About the Author

Recultured Team
Recultured Team
This is where you'll find the blog posts that the team has contributed to collectively! What team? Wildcats! -Nope, wrong team. Recultured!

  • What a handy and timely post. Great article as usual, A!

    And I’m loving that sweater–I better see you in it some time around! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks for dropping a line, Kevin! I concur, that sweater is rather nice-looking. If I knew where I could get my hands on it, I would don it wherever, whenever! ๐Ÿ™‚

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