Songs for a chill Canadian winter

Escape commuting in the cold with some good vibes and easy listening

Songs for a chill Canadian winter

Regardless of whether your commute to class is 20 minutes or an hour and 20, there is always a need to keep distracted — especially in the snowy season! Music is the perfect pastime. Not only can you bury your hands deep in your pockets, but it is also a great escape from the everyday stress of schoolwork and assignments. Here are 10 tracks to do just that.

“Mr. Brightside” by The Killers, 2004

This killer throwback to the early 2000s provides a strong sense of nostalgia for anyone who enjoys singing along to what can be described as a former emo-teen anthem. The steady beat and easy-to-remember lyrics will have you reminiscing about your childhood, forgetting about your long, overcrowded daily commute.

“I Like It” by Cardi B, Bad Bunny, J Balvin, 2018

Cardi B has once again blessed us with a song that not only has a great backtrack but also fun lyrics delivered by a host of talented collaborators. This upbeat song almost guarantees the overwhelming need to dance — or if you’re on the subway or bus, maybe just some light head bobbing.

“Youngblood” by 5 Seconds of Summer, 2018

The solid lyrics and beat provided by the Australian boy band will at the very least provide a distraction from even the worst commute. At the very best, it will make you want to sing along with full fervor in the middle of a crowded subway car.

“Jesus of Suburbia” by Green Day, 2004

This is another throwback song that will remove you from your lengthy, tumultuous journey. Green Day provide an upbeat tempo and elaborate guitar solos that will definitely leave you feeling hyped up and ready for whatever the day has to offer.

“Scar Tissue” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1999

The relaxed tempo of this song, along with the gentle riff of the guitar solos, is a great way to set a chill tone for the start of a day. It is also perfect to help you unwind while commuting back home after a long day of class.

“Kiwi” by Harry Styles, 2017

The high energy of this song, as well as the great vocals from our favourite ex-member of One Direction — cue tears — allow for an incredibly entertaining commute. I dare you not to bop along to the fun beat and amusing lyrics.

“Cough Syrup” by Young the Giant, 2010

Easy breezy listening with this mellow tune. It creates a strong sense of nostalgia, helping you lose yourself in whimsical thought. Nothing passes time better than daydreaming about joyous memories and the past, and this song will definitely take you back there.

“Cigarette Daydreams” by Cage the Elephant, 2013

Nothing says ‘chill’ like the soft serenade of an acoustic guitar. Whether you are on your way to lecture or on the way home, this song allows you to easily get lost in your thoughts and forget about the stress of the day.

“In My Feelings” by Drake, 2018

Despite topping the charts and sparking a viral online challenge months ago, this song is still as hype as ever. It has a great vibe and reduces any lengthy commute with its solid beat and entertaining lyrics.

“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen, 1978

There is nothing like an old school classic. This song is a bit of a throwback, but being serenaded by Freddie Mercury is still as great now as it was 40 years ago. The jazzy, incredibly upbeat sound of this song will make any journey feel like breeze.

Commuting across campuses as a Varsity Blues athlete

U of T athletics can be difficult for students situated outside UTSG — one UTM athlete details her experiences

Commuting across campuses as a Varsity Blues athlete

As a third-year student athlete, I compete for the Varsity Blues field hockey team while studying Communication, Culture, Information & Technology and Professional Writing and Communication — majors only offered at UTM.

When people ask me what being a Varsity Blues athlete at UTM is like, my answer is simple: I love it. Every now and then I might envy the simplicity of school and field hockey being in the same place, but overall, I view my unique situation as an opportunity to experience the best of what both UTSG and UTM have to offer my athletic and academic careers.

There is no such thing as a ‘typical day’ for me, as my daily routine changes based on my class schedule, commute times, and training requirements. As a student living in downtown Toronto, I catch the UTM shuttle bus in front of Hart House to get to classes, then I take the return shuttle downtown to lift weights, go to practice, study, and sleep.

Sometimes, especially during our off-season, I spend more hours per week on the bus than I do at practice. Depending on the day, I make use of my time on the bus differently. I might do readings, work on assignments for class, catch up on sleep, or rest before practice. I try to make my commute either productive or enjoyable so that I’m less likely to dread it.

Organization is key. I fill the pages of my planner and constantly receive updates from my Google Calendar. In order to perform my best on the field and in the classroom, I focus all of my energy on the task at hand. At training, I think about field hockey; in class, I think about my coursework. These responsibilities — along with my job at the Munk School of Global Affairs, writing for The Varsity, and working with the UTM Innovation Association — are ordered so that I can complete everything I need to. This way I never get too overwhelmed.

My team has always been supportive and accommodating of me. If I’m late to practice or if I have to skip a lift, everyone understands. Our schedule can be flexible, so I miss as little as possible.

But given the difference in UTM and UTSG’s academic calendars, I commonly face logistical challenges. For example, this year I started classes earlier than my teammates, and I had a different fall reading week and a slightly different exam period.

I always look forward to spending time with my teammates on and off the field. In my first year, as I navigated two unfamiliar campuses, my teammates immediately made me feel at home downtown. We like to eat meals, work at the library, and watch other Blues games together. Sometimes I find myself envying the way they help each other study, compare notes, and share textbooks, but I never feel excluded.

Though I don’t have classes in common with my teammates, my small classes and the opportunity to work closely with students and professors are my favourite aspects of UTM. I’ve collaborated on writing pieces, design projects, and assignments with bright and talented individuals who have become my close friends. This year, some of those friends and I founded the UTM Innovation Association to provide students with access to local startups.

Overall, my student athlete experience combines the best of both campuses. I train and compete downtown in a big city, but I attend class surrounded by forest and the occasional deer roaming around campus. I belong to a massive Varsity athlete community, but I study in a tight-knit program. I’m surrounded by traditional brick buildings downtown, but I see my reflection in the brand new glass buildings in Mississauga.

U of T-developed app can inform transit policy

City Logger can track commutes and provide insight into modes of travel

U of T-developed app can inform transit policy

Whether your commute is a short subway trip or a lengthy bus ride, you can use the City Logger app to monitor your data while aiding provincial governments in transit funding and planning decisions.

Developed by a team of U of T researchers, City Logger runs in the background of your phone and will collect location and time data to aid researchers in their understanding of transit user behaviour.

The app is part of a larger research project called the Transportation Tomorrow Survey (TTS), which has been conducted every five years since 1986 to collect household travel data.

Chris Harding, a PhD candidate in the Department of Civil Engineering at U of T, has been one of the driving forces behind this project. According to Harding, the TTS had collected data from 150,000 households by landline surveying during 2011 and 2016. However, this method has been costly and time-consuming.

“We needed to explore new ways to collect data in a region, and smartphones were one of these things that we were looking at,” said Harding.

Harding notes that there are some limitations when it comes to surveying through an application, including technical limitations like GPS location disruptions, and physical limitations like the way people interact with the application. However, this method has proven to be more advantageous than conventional forms of surveying in the past. Harding said that City Logger enabled his team to reach a younger audience range and capture transit trips that go unreported in most conventional surveys.

“When you have stand-alone apps, you would find that the trips go underreported anywhere from 25 to 40% of the actual trips that [commuters] make and so the app… allows us to not have that self-reporting [error],” said Harding.

City Logger is currently available for download on both Android and iOS devices.