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Toronto, Canada

312 Adelaide Street West, Suite 301
Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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6 Ways to Turn Travel Time into Useful Time

Written by Hilary Hoogsteen

Ever feel like you’re wasting your life away sitting on public transit? As students, many of us (with the exception of those lucky on-campus dwellers) spend a significant amount of our days commuting to and from school. The “free” bus pass some schools offer can be nice, but it really feels like we could get a lot more done if we weren’t sitting on the bus for two hours every day.

One of the best ways to boost your productivity is by using your commute time for more useful things than liking pictures of selfies and cats on Instagram. In order to save you all from the discomfort of balancing your computer on your lap to read notes on the bus, I’ve included 6 transit-friendly ways to turn travel time into useful study time.

1. Quizlet

Download the Quizlet (App Store/Google Play) app right this instant and thank me when you nail your next final. This app allows you make and use flash cards on your phone. You can mark cards that you need more practice on or play fun matching games. The app will even read definitions aloud for all you auditory learners! Type up your flash cards, pop in your headphones, and consider your next exam effectively studied for.

2. Text-to-Speech Apps

Without fail, my readings suck up all my weeknights. By the time I read 10 pages of a “short” article for each class every week, I’ve lost loads of time that I would have rather spent doing… well, anything else. Do yourself a favor and download an app that will read PDFs to you, such as AlReader for Android, vBookz PDF Voice Reader for iPhone, or NaturalReader for iPad. These apps have lots of different usage options, including various voice packages—you could use a British voice pack to make all your readings feel like Harry Potter novels!

3. The Google Docs App

“I would work on this, but it’s saved on my computer at home.” Sound familiar? When you’re researching a paper or making study notes, do them in Google Docs (App Store/Google Play). That way, when you get a brilliant idea for strengthening your thesis or want to memo a relevant article, you can jot it down in the same document you were working on using the Google Docs app. If you’re lucky enough to get a study guide for a midterm or final, transfer it to Google Docs and share the document with a few classmates. Voilà—you have yourself a study group that you can revisit on the bus!

4. The Google Slides App

Group presentations have now been solved! Work on your group presentation while you’re on your way home using the Google Slides app (App Store/Google Play) and save yourself some precious time that could be better spent watching Netflix. You can work on your Google Slides presentation with or without an internet connection, so you can still get work done even if you’re low on data!

5. Kicking it Old School

Whipping out a few flashcards or a notebook is a whole lot easier than getting your laptop out when you’re mid-commute. Even if you take notes on the computer, write some key terms down in a notebook during class or make paper flash cards at home to throw in your coat pocket. Spending even five minutes of your daily commute going over some terms will make studying a whole lot easier, especially when your final is just a few days away.

6. Making Your Textbook Your Best Friend

While bringing a textbook with you everywhere is probably tougher if you’re a nursing student than an English major, having one book on you at all times means you might be more inclined to read it during those lulls in your day. Every time you leave the house, throw in the book for the course you feel most behind on. Next time you’re waiting for the bus or you’re early for work, spend 15 minutes reading (or re-reading) material from that week. When you start studying for the class, you won’t feel like you’re starting from scratch!

Now that you’re a master at studying on the bus, make yourself a sweet study playlist and get cracking. Sorry, #instacats—you’ll have to wait until the semester’s over to get all those likes again.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.