Aug 30, 2023

To commute, or not to commute?

Incoming Students, Resources, Transition Blog
By Gabriel Tarzi
Animated depiction of multiple modes of transportation

For incoming students in the MD Program at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, housing is one of the biggest decisions to make; location, roommates, and costs are just some of the many considerations. However, for students that are from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), or have accommodations in the GTA, there is the added question moving closer to campus – whether downtown or in Mississauga.

While living near campus offers convenience and a sense of community, being a commuter student has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. This blog post will explore the pros and cons of being a commuter student at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and will hopefully provide some insight into the commuter experience. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to personal circumstances and preferences, and I hope this post helps with making this decision.


  1. Cost Savings: One of the primary advantages of being a commuter student is the potential for significant cost savings. Tuition fees for medical school are already substantial, and choosing to commute can help reduce the financial burden by eliminating the need to pay downtown Toronto or Mississauga housing costs. This is certainly the biggest consideration for many students and can make a significant difference in the long run.
  2. Familiar Environment: For those who have a strong support system and a comfortable living situation at home, commuting provides the advantage of studying in a familiar environment. Living at home can offer a sense of stability and familiarity, which can be particularly valuable during the challenging and demanding years of medical school.
  3. Different commuting methods: There are many ways of traveling to the downtown core or the Mississauga campus. Many students utilize public transportation, including the TCC, GO, and MiWay; while others use a bike, vehicle, or Uber. It is important to note that all students at the Mississauga campus receive a transit pass that allows them to ride all MiWay busses for free! Nonetheless, commuting methods depend heavily on each individual’s living circumstances, because travel times can vary greatly based on where you are located.
  4. Flexibility: Being a commuter isn’t a lifelong commitment. Many people try it out for the first couple of months before deciding whether to move closer to campus. It may be harder to find a roommate later in the year, but there will always be places to move in downtown Toronto or near major transit hubs in Mississauga (such as Square One).


  1. Time and Fatigue: Commuting to and from campus can be time-consuming, especially if you live far away. Long commutes take away from sleep, reduce study time, and limit opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities or socialize with peers.
  2. Missed Opportunities for Community Engagement: Living near campus may help you immerse yourself more fully in the medical school community. Commuter students may miss out on spontaneous study sessions and impromptu social opportunities that often arise from living within close proximity to classmates. Building strong personal connections can be more challenging as a commuter student; however, it is certainly not impossible. If this is something that is a priority, it is definitely possible to have a bustling social life as a commuter.
  3. Limited Availability for After-Hours Activities: Commuting might restrict your participation in after-hours activities such as clubs, organizations, and social events, which are often integral to a holistic medical school experience. Late-night study groups and social events may be more challenging to attend due to the logistics of getting back home.

In conclusion, deciding whether or not to commute is a very personal choice that relies heavily on individual circumstances. The main considerations are mode of transportation, time of commute, and how often you will need to actually commute to campus and hospital sites. Whatever you end up deciding, I am sure your time in the MD Program at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine will be extremely rewarding and fun!


Gabriel Tarzi, 2T5 MD Student