I have wanted to write a post about commuting to university for ages, and I thought know was a good time to because I have been commuting since September, so I have had some experience. Although if you had no idea I was commuting to university, maybe read this post to see my life update about the whole situation.
I overall love commuting to university, but I know that some people are intrigued about how it works and whether I enjoy it, so I thought to do a Q&A, where my followers could ask questions on Instagram and my Facebook page all under the theme of commuting. I hope it sheds some light on a topic that is rarely talked about!
These photos were taken by the lovely Ami Ford.
How long is your commute? Do you get tired?
My commute is an hour long (so 2 hours a day). I sometimes get tired if I have a particularly busy week that requires me to travel in each day, but on the whole I don’t feel particularly tired. I try and get some studying done on the train so I stay focused, and the time seems to fly by anyway.
Do you wish the trains were cheaper?
Definitely! Every semester the train prices seem to go up, but every semester they seem to get more and more delayed. I think if I was paying for a fantastic service I wouldn’t mind, but a lot of my trains are delayed or cancelled. However, its still so much cheaper than living in my uni city!
Do you ever feel left out if your friends go out without you?
I think if anyone’s friends go out without them they are going to feel slightly left out, so I am not saying that I am immune to it completely. However, I am not the biggest night out person anyway, so I rarely go on them anyway (maybe every 3 weeks or so). If I do want to go on a night out, I will visit my friends in other university cities, see my boyfriend (who is at uni) or stay at my friends houses in Leeds. If you want to make it work you can, but I think if you really enjoy a night out, then commuting to university probably isn’t for you.
Is there a part of the university experience that you feel you are missing out on?
I would say the independence and experience of living alone, however I lived on my own at university for the first year and hated it… which was hence the reason I moved back home! I honestly don’t really feel like I am missing out on the independence as despite living at home, as I am quite an independent person anyway, and as far as living in a city goes… I spend half my time in Manchester anyway. I feel like I would miss being in a city and having the typical city lifestyle if I lived at home 100% of the time, but I really satisfy my urges to live in a city when I’m away. Sorry I can’t be more specific when answering this question!
Do you find it harder to make friends if you commute?
I definitely think it is harder to make friends if you are commuting to university, as you won’t have the night life that others would have, and you also won’t be meeting people in accommodation. It sometimes feels quite lonely when other people you know are meeting lots of new people, but it doesn’t affect me much as I am naturally quite introverted, and keep my circles quite small. I remained close to my home friends, have some friends at uni on my course who I love, and also have ‘internet friends’ that I have met along the way… I am not short of people in my life, I just don’t live with them!
Do you think commuting is harder depending on what degree you do?
Certainly! I am very fortunate because my degree has very low contact hours, so I only have to travel to uni around 2-3 days a week. I think I would really burn myself out if I was travelling 2 hours a day, 5 days a week…. plus having full days of uni! I full appreciate that because of the course, some people’s decision to commute is blocked as its just not feasible. Although I think if you are planning to commute from a start, the amount of contact hours is something you should check before you commit to the course.
What do you do in gaps between classes if you can’t go to your room?
I usually go and grab some food in the union building, have a coffee, meet a friend or go to the library! When I used to live in Leeds I always used to go to my room and procrastinate for a few hours, so at least if I’m forced to stay on campus I usually end up being quite productive.
I am thinking of commuting when I go to uni next year- is there anything to help commuting students?
I am at the university of Leeds so I can only speak for my university, but overall there isn’t much help. You actually get less student loan (which makes sense because I’m not expected to pay rent or food etc), and there isn’t much support financially. As far as supporting socially and ‘settling into uni’ is concerned, the university doesn’t really seem to offer a lot… although I presume thats different for each uni! Theres a commuters society that I have joined but its quite new and not very active, but still nice to have some support from others in the community.
What is the best thing about commuting?
I LOVE that I get to come home and see my family every evening, as I missed them so much when I wasn’t living at home in my first year. Something I really struggled with is university being such a bubble, and leaving your lectures to go back to your uni halls and constantly being around students. I love that no matter how stressful university is, I can come home at the end of the day and be in a supportive atmosphere and it feels almost like I’m going to sixth form rather than living and breathing university… which is much better for my mental state.
What is the worst thing about commuting?
I think the worst thing about commuting for me is the uncertainty of the trains and timetables at the moment. There are so many cancellations and I spend a lot of my life waiting on train platforms because of delayed trains. I know I could drive but going on the train seems like the best option for me… well if they were running smoothly that is!
Overall I love commuting to university and it is definitely the best decision for me. However, I do know that it can be a more lonely student experience, so I am always here to chat to anyone who is also commuting… I would love to have little community of commuting students who could all chat. Thank you so much for reading this blog post, and for supporting my slightly non-conventional student journey over the past 2 years.