The buzz for starting university is an exciting time for all students but it is undeniable that there is a heavy focus on students who are moving out and living away from home for the first time. This can leave many commuters feeling very left out…

Commuting to and from uni can be a long and laborious everyday task for a lot of students and I certainly felt this having to get the tube for an hour each way going to and from university. In the first year of uni my timetable always consisted of a one hour lecture followed by a one hour seminar. So, I would have two hours of university time but I would spend one hour travelling to my lecture and then one hour travelling back home afterwards.

I found it frustrating that I was spending the same amount of time travelling as being in uni. Sometimes if trains were delayed I would spend more time travelling than actually learning in classes.

On top of this I would always have to leave social events earlier to account for the amount of time it would take me to get back home before the last trains. I did a lot of my reading on the tube which meant the information was fresh in my head before the lecture which was a good benefit. But travelling underground in darkness on your own in silence can really make you feel lonely and stuck in a bubble.

But it is also very easy to feel like you’re surrounded by help directed at students who have moved out and are struggling to cope, but travelling hours every day can take it’s toll, too. Your time is taken up with waiting for trains and memorising the order of stations. So how did I cope with commuting and its struggles?

It is difficult at first to adapt to this new lifestyle of travelling everywhere, especially for me, and other students like me, who were travelling across the city of London pretty much every day. But travelling didn’t stop me from making friends while I was at university and I was surprised to find that there were many more of my classmates that I thought who also commuted. I had the impression that nearly every student lived away from home but this was soon changed.

I also was pleasantly surprised to find that many of my classmates travelled the same way I did which made my journeys on the tube far less lonely. Being underground meant that I couldn’t message anyone about the seminar or lecture, but having a friendly companion or two on the tube made this problem go away.

Joining the Commuters Society was also a great step for me and something I would recommend any commuter to do. If your university does not have a Commuters Society, why not set up your own? I had several enjoyable nights of a range of activities from glow in the dark table tennis, bowling, cheap group meals out and so much more. Being part of these events enabled me to make the most of being at university. I thought commuting meant that I would have to sacrifice enjoyable nights out but joining the Commuters Society changed this for me.

I, and my bank account, also soon found out that I was saving so much by travelling and not living out. Because I was saving money by travelling, I then had money to spend when I wanted to treat myself to a bigger Subway sandwich or wanted another drink at the pub. On top of this, because I wasn’t home when my family were having dinner I still had the freedom to cook whatever I wanted in the same way a student who lived in halls did (it also meant I had to learn how to cook to add to my list of ‘adult skills’ I had to master at some point in my life).

And when I had a classmate try and poke fun at the fact I was still living at home, I would always remind them that there’s no shame in having money and having food to eat. I enjoyed university just as much as the next person and commuting didn’t stop me from having fun and it shouldn’t stop you from exploring either!

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