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Why I travel 4h+ every day to work and back just to write my graduation thesis

  • Enes Aktay

I am 24 years old and in the 8th semester of my study “Business Information Systems”.

This May I started working at Liip. A lot of my fellow students and friends are asking me: Why would you take that route back and forth every day if you can just do it somewhere near? 🤷
This is actually a very reasonable and good question which hopefully will be answered by the end of this post. (Spoiler: No, the answer is not the juicy swiss-wage everyone thinks of 🤑)

My daily route

distance-radolfzell-zurich

Figure 1: Here you can see the route I’d be taking if I was walking. Sure, let me swim across the lake real quick. 🏊‍
The route is about 80km (about 50 miles) if I was driving by car. Instead of driving by car, I am taking the train though. I’ll elaborate on why I take the train instead of driving myself later in this post.
Long talk short: It takes me 3 transfers to reach the Liip office in Zurich and about 2h one way. Which makes a total of about 4h every day to the office and back.
A lot time, isn’t it? Read along.

How I got to Liip and why I chose to send an application to this company

Side note: I already knew, I wanted to do my graduation thesis at a company. Also, what was clear to me is I wanted to go in the web-development direction. The question was just: Which company do I want to do it at?

I have already known about Liip through their open source contributions, such as their PHP one-line installation or their LiipImagineBundle. There is plenty of more open source contributions. I just picked two of which I had used in the past myself and still use from time to time.
Further, I did some research and noticed the awards the company has. One example for this is: Liip achieved the top 5 medium-sized companies.
This was enough to convince myself, to take the opportunity, to write a mail regarding and asking as of if it’s possible to write my thesis at this company.
After a little back and forth mailing, video-calling and explaining how writing a graduation Thesis at a company works, I was invited to come by for an interview. So I went for it, and it all went successful. 🎉

To put it in a nutshell: I don’t know about any other company having open source contributions which I have been using. Other than that, it’d be hard beating the award count. Also, I’d be lying if I said Zurich didn’t look cool on my CV(right? :D).

"I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary."

  • Elon Musk

What is my topic and why it was an impact of my choice to this company

I was beforehand told that if I will be working at Liip, it’ll most likely be an open source bundle (which I find to be cool to support open source) regarding the eCommerce framework Sylius.
ECommerce gets more and more important as more and more people are shopping online instead of walking to the shops. I want to use this as an opportunity to get more knowledge in this area.
More about my topic, to follow, on another blogpost. :)

Why I am taking the train and how I am compensating for the travel time

As earlier mentioned I take the train every time I go to the Zurich Office, which takes like 2h one way. This is mostly the point where people roll their eyes and is the reason for them to reject such an opportunity.
First of all, what do people usually do when being in the train. I see mostly people hang on their phone, probably check out the same post in their social media over and over again until they eventually arrive. I told myself I don’t want to do this, so instead I read books.
Yeah, correct. I think for people that get distracted fast of reading books this is a good opportunity to (kind of) force yourself to read. 📖
Another big option is, since I am working on a Laptop I can start working in the train already, so I’d work less in the office and go back home earlier again. 💻
Every time I get into the train I tell myself: Why pull out your phone if you can be productive instead?
Not only are you using your time on the way when you are taking the train, but you also help the environment. 🌍

An overview of the advantages of taking the train over the car:

🚗 🚆
Have to drive slow or you get poor No possibilities to get speeding tickets
can't read books can read books
can't work remotely can work remotely
concentrate on the road can relax in the train
don't care about the environment care about the environment

TLDR; I chose Liip because of their open source contributions and I wanted to have a contribution too. I am using the train time to read books and start working in the train. There is no time-waste when I am reading or working on my laptop. Also, you help the environment by taking the train over the car.


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