Friction of Distance Made Me Sleep at Lister for a Night

Written By: Eunice Doroni  

When I was in the process of moving to Edmonton in 2011, my family and I immediately started looking for houses in the ‘burbs of Ellerslie/Summerside. We thought this was the dream -- a spacious backyard, a front-facing garage that could house our vehicles, all the lawns were freshly cut, and there was no graffiti on anyone’s garage doors. It wasn’t so bad to begin with, because we moved near the end of summer and the neighbourhood was still growing. It was a step up from the 1950s neighbourhood that we lived in Winnipeg that was starting to show signs of neighbourhood deterioration. 

Fast forward 6 years, one and a half degrees later, and a huge expansion of the neighbourhood. I’m more involved on campus, I have a part-time job, and I am taking full course loads. My daily hour-long commute from home to school certainly doesn't help, especially since it gets up to an hour and a half with traffic. Some might scoff and think that it’s pretty average -- but for someone whose Google Calendar looks like a losing game of Tetris, an extra 2 hours lost during the waking hours means two hours of sleep lost (I know my fellow sleep-lovers can empathize). So, when I found out that a Commuter Hostel inside Lister Centre was opening up on campus, I was slightly excited. Sometimes, I stay on campus till 10:00 PM to get an adequate amount of work done. Can you imagine commuting for another hour after a 12-hour day?

Commuter Hostel at Lister Centre. Photo from  The Gateway

Commuter Hostel at Lister Centre. Photo from The Gateway

The friction of distance, defined by Oxford Reference, refers to a situation where “the distance from a point increases, the interactions with that point decrease, usually because the time and costs involved increase with distance.” Back in 2011, I didn’t know living in the suburbs would create a larger friction of distance. I also didn’t know it would lead me to consider paying to sleep on campus for a night.

During the last week of January, I had one major paper and a major proposal due, and it also happened to be a really busy week for volunteering, meetings, and work. I thought this would be a great time to try out the commuter hostel. The $35.00 seemed worth the extra sleep and time to work on my assignments.



I left the library at around 7:30 PM, so that I could settled in. It was pretty dark on campus already, and I was hauling around 8 pounds worth of books, so I was excited to get to the commuter hostel.

I arrived in less than 10 minutes, and the room was quaint. It had a desk and a bed, which is just what I needed.

Not having to worry about commuting home, I was able to finish everything that I needed to by 9:51 PM, and I got a full 8 hours of sleep and woke up just in time for my 8:20 AM GAPSS committee meeting. I woke up at 8 AM, showered, ate breakfast and was out of the door by 8:15.

So, overall, some of the pros were definitely the decreased friction of distance (based on my needs), enough sleep, and the fairly-affordable nightly rate. Some cons were thin walls, static-y bed sheets and Jubilee lights shining through my window. This was a stressful week, but an on-campus service helped me overcome some of the stresses of being another busy student and offset the very real issue of friction of distance.