This blog post was written by Intern Queen Alumni Ambassador Alexia Polacheck, a 2014 graduate of Providence College.
Commuting into the city is hard work. You dedicate minutes, if not hours, of your day to travel. My commute, at the current time, is two hours. Yes, you read that right. Two hours. I've been commuting for almost a year.
Here are five things I've learned along the way:
1. Your cell phone will always die. This is a fact of life. Learn to live with it. No matter how charged your phone is at the beginning of your day, your phone will die half way through. The best way to combat this is to keep a desk charger. Charge your phone throughout the work day. Or, if your job requires more mobility, carry a plug free charger.
If you work in NYC, Duane Reade has an assortment of chargers (plug free and not) that also come in an assortment of different colors. They're also extremely cheap. I highly recommend them! If you live in another city, stop by your nearest drug store. These chargers usually last a while, so one $10 investment can save you a lot of future pain.
2. Wear comfortable shoes. Here's a true story: A friend of mine had to come into NYC for work for a day. To commute into the city, she wore heels. I warned her ahead of time to wear comfortable shoes and then switch into heels when she arrived at the meeting. She told me she would be just fine. After all, she wears heels every day. She thought she'd be comfortable in them. Halfway through her commute to the meeting, she regretted wearing heels. Thankfully, she brought a pair of backup shoes anyway and quickly changed into them.
People who work in the city do a lot of walking. The average city dweller walks two to five miles a day. While that certainly helps us (in terms of lower stress and greater heart health), it also can hurt us. Do yourself a favor and wear comfortable shoes. If you can, store your work shoes at work. If you can't, bring a backpack and you change into them at work. No one will look at you funny. In fact, on your next commute, you'll probably notice that everyone else is wearing sneakers with their suits/dresses. Welcome to the club.
3. Memorize your commute schedule and have a back up. My last bus out of the city is 8 p.m.. If I miss that bus, then I have to wait until 6 a.m. the following morning. While it seems like common sense to watch the time, sometimes it sneaks up on you. One day, when I was at happy hour with my coworkers, I left just in time to take the subway back to Port Authority.
And then the subway was late. I missed my bus. However, I didn't panic. I had a backup plan. I went to Penn Station and took a train to a station near my house where my parents picked me up. If you have a backup plan in place before you miss your bus/train, you'll feel a lot better when it happens.
4. Use your time wisely. With the beauty that is technology, I get a lot of work done on my commute. On the way to work, I go over emails that were sent after I left the office. This way, I have a better idea of what I'm getting into that morning.
If you like to leave work at the office, then use your commute to relax. On my commute home, I catch up on my reading or I nap! Although I'm dedicating hours to get to work and to get home, I get those hours back by doing something productive. If your commute allows you the option, try to use those hours to your advantage.
5. Use the opportunity to explore. Although no one will tell you this, by commuting into the city, you essentially live in the city. Excluding your commute and your hours asleep, you spend a majority of your hours awake in the city you work in.
Take advantage of this. You're commuting for a reason. Cities are a great environment to work in. After work, try to explore the world around you. Go to happy hour with your coworkers. Take a trip to the local museum. Grab dinner at the place you've had your eye on. And, most importantly, have fun!