Campus Quest: A student’s journey from the subway to the RCC
The adventure of a lifetime begins for some Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) students, myself included, as the subway rolls into Dundas Station. We’re all hoping to reach the catacombs spread across campus. For me, the destination is my class at the Rogers Communication Centre (RCC). I mentally prepare myself for the treacherous expedition that is sure to come. Though, I do wish I got more sleep…
With my heat-resistant jacket prepared to shield me from the volcanic lava that is Yonge-Dundas Square, I’m ready to begin. Something is always about to erupt here—whether it’s a live concert or someone walking into oncoming traffic. Maybe one of the preachers will summon Jesus himself.
My fellow subway travelers eagerly gather at the front of the doors, waiting for them to slide open and reveal the unknown challenges of the day. “You’re not going to get there any faster,” I say to myself as I hang back, bid farewell to my safety and let the crowd barge out of the sliding doors ahead of me.
I hold in a giggle as I see a student walk in the wrong direction to the station’s exit. At least they’re trying to take the steps toward becoming the hero of their own story.
I quietly huff and puff—and might blow your house down—as everyone crowds toward the closest Presto exit. If I don’t make it to class, there will be catastrophic consequences—like losing two per cent of my attendance mark.
I’m kind of an “Indiana Jones” on these streets. Some might even refer to me as a commuter expert or a wilderness explorer. Thus, I know to head left as soon as I exit the station. I enter The Tenor—the official name for that place where the Cineplex is.
For a moment, I consider stopping at the Tim Hortons for breakfast. How could I possibly be ready to fight a saboteur—a.k.a. the professor who failed me—on an empty stomach? The thought of waiting in line to order and then waiting even longer for my cinnamon raisin bagel makes me shudder. So instead, I let the jam-packed escalators full of students whisk me away.
My stomach growls louder than a tiger ready to attack, causing the person in front of me to turn around. Thankfully, my ninja reflexes allow me to dodge this natural disaster—their backpack—which is oh-so-close to knocking me out.
How hard is it to be more aware of your surroundings?
A domino effect of commuters falling into the swamps of garbage beneath us would be the real natural disaster.
Now overly aware of my grumbling stomach, I decide that I will have breakfast…only this one time though. Unsurprisingly, the downstairs escalators are broken. So, rather than looking like a failure, really just a fool, I go to every TMU student’s favourite spot to refuel: El Dorado—a.k.a. Starbucks.
Just like I expected I would, I begin to wait in the longest line of my life. I ponder whether or not my sausage, egg and bacon sandwich is even worth my hunger in this economy. For now, more important matters remain: how will I reach the catacombs?
I realize that I have two options. I can endure the daunting trek through Victoria Street, crossing hazardous rivers–urine puddles–and dodging mercenaries—clueless drivers. Or, I can push through the crowds on Yonge Street.
Yonge Street it is.
I’ll be sure to take a moment to stop and remember the fallen soldiers—those who skipped class—and their trusty sidekicks—the dead mouse and seagull on the curb—for their sacrifices. They would make good Halloween props, but I digress…unless.
Finally, it’s my turn to order. Minutes later, I’m handed my precious sustenance along with several napkins. Before the cashier can even wish me well on my journey, I’m out the door.
I take a right—even though I’m left-handed—and reach Yonge and Dundas Square. Immediately, I almost get swallowed up by the gaping void—an open sewer grate. I stop for a moment to gather my bearings.
That would have been embarrassing.
As I walk along the dreaded “rope bridge,” which is really just my path behind a swarm of students also trying to make it to class on time, I’m stopped by a pair of double agents—the Little Canada employees. After narrowly avoiding them, I’m careful not to get harassed by Five Guys—the smell I mean—and momentarily think about stopping inside Tokyo Smoke. Since it’s Thursday, I can score a discount on my edibles. According to girl math, I’m saving money by buying at a discount as opposed to buying nothing at all.
I do a little dancey-dance as I finally enter the Temple of Doom: TMU campus. Mere minutes after starting the trek down Gould Street, I’m nearly obliterated by a falling crane. Granted, I usually choose to walk near dangerous objects on campus. How else would I achieve generational wealth?
As I walk down the street, I have to be as stealthy as possible to go undetected by the secret societies—i.e. the anti-abortion protestors, socialist groups and aspiring TikTokers with their suspiciously tiny microphones. I stop in my tracks to consider whether or not it’s worth it to get interviewed—I do want to become famous—but end up choosing to put on my stone-cold face and staying true to my path.
I make sure to hold my breath as I pass by the poisonous gas—the garbage bins—as my final destination is in sight.
Alas, I’ve reached the catacombs—the RCC. As I finally reach into my pocket to grab my sword—OneCard—and declare my journey victorious, my heart drops. I left it at home.
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