Finals are descending upon us, but it’s not good to fixate on them too much. You’re surely being bombarded by reminders that a huge portion of your grade will be determined by your performance in the next couple of weeks. Instead, let’s talk about what comes after. In a short couple of weeks, this semester will be a thing of the past and America’s college students will journey home. For some, this will be a short car trip, for some a plane ride, but for many, such as myself, our trips will, at least in part, take place in a train. Trains are comfortable and affordable, but one drawback to traveling by train is that there is very little to do -- at least that’s what seems to be the case at first. I’ve compiled a list of exciting activities available to train riders.

1. Explore.

There’s a lot of train to see. Take some time, find the best bathroom, press your body against the door to the conductor’s room and fill yourself with longing to pass through the too solid placard to your disconnect. Check out that food cart, see who has come up with the most inventive sleeping position, really scope things out. But what you really want to do is...

2. Get on the roof.

There’s nothing cooler than standing on the roof of a train, get up there and expose yourself to the world as it rushes by around you. This may take some doing, but if you try hard enough you’ll definitely be able to find a way up there. The engineers of these trains know what people want and will toss you a couple flaws in the ceiling so only people who are dedicated enough will be able to get up to where they want to go.

3. Scope out your routes to the roof.

Find all the possible paths from your seat to the roof, this will come in handy later. The aisle steward may start getting suspicious of you after you pace the length of the cart for the seventh time, though, so be careful.

4. Read the provided literature.

There should be some pamphlets in the pocket on the back of every seat. They offer some excellent insight into the running of the train system and they should also have a detailed layout of all the emergency roof hatches on the train. Tear out this page.

5. Ask the aisle steward to get you things from the food cart.

It’s not technically one of his responsibilities, but if you pester him enough he’ll probably go do it. Make sure you order something that’s not on the menu so you don’t actually have to buy anything and still get the opportunity to yell at him, free of charge, when he comes back empty handed. Search for more ways to get onto the roof while he’s gone.

6. Go to the food cart and tell the person working it that the aisle steward called her lazy.

When she goes to confront the aisle steward sneak back into their pathetic excuse for a kitchen. See if she has any roof hatches in their workspace.

7. Get some shut eye.

Curl in your seat and see if you can’t catch a few Z's. With all your exploring you’ll almost definitely dream about being on the roof of the train.

8. Have an affair with the aisle steward.

Make love on the roof if at all possible. Steal his keys while he sleeps.

9. Try to use their keys to get into the conductor’s room.

Be with your true love.

10. Try to find an entrance to the conductor’s room from the roof.

Unfortunately, the aisle steward doesn’t have the keys to the conductor’s room. Try to find an alternate way in, preferably a roof-based way.

11. Get in a fight.

Confront the aisle steward you’ve robbed and spurned. He’ll have their company-issued handgun on him at all times, so make sure you’re packing heat. Get in a firefight with him from opposite ends of the cart.

12. Draw the fight onto the roof.

Find the nearest way onto the roof (I told you your planning would come in handy). The steward knows the train better than the pattern of the wrinkling of their brow, so he’ll be able to follow you effortlessly. Have a dramatic exchange, screaming at each other from a great distance while the wind whips your words across the countryside. Allow him to shoot first as it is only polite but make sure that he always has his back to the way the train is going. That way you’ll be able to see when a tunnel is coming and jump into the little crevasse between the carts, letting him know that danger is coming, only too late. Watch with grim resignation as he slowly turns to face his oncoming doom as it slams into him and pastes him along the roof of the train before they’ve even turned all the way around.

13. Ask a fellow traveller where they’re going.

People are the greatest source of entertainment, really get to know someone that you’re taking this trip with.

14. Ring the service requested button a bunch.


15. Check your surrounding area when leaving to make sure you didn’t forget anything.

Don’t want to lose your favorite scarf!