My Experience as a Commuting Student

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By Zara, Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Birmingham

Part of me always wanted to stay at home during my time at university, as I loved being around my family and it would enable me to save money. I decided to commute to campus as I live close to a train station and as the University of Birmingham has its own train station it was very easy to get to and from the university.  

Being a commuter student can be daunting, but by attending commuter events in Freshers week, my worries were eased and I realised there were lots of other people in the same position.  

During my first year, I realised just how many commuter students there were and started to travel with them after meeting them. There is a misconception that commuter students may not make as many friends – however I can confirm that this is definitely not true. I have made incredible friendships with both commuter and accommodation students and my friendships have not been affected by my choice to live at home.  

I am now in my second year and I don’t believe I have missed out on the ‘university experience’. I am normally on campus from Monday to Friday for at least 6 hours a day as I have multiple lectures/labs to attend and find it more productive to revise with my friends. On the weekdays I also spend more time at the university than I do at home.  

One of the main benefits of living at home has been the food. I am not the greatest cook and find cooking to be a chore so to come home and have dinner already made is a big plus! It also saves me a lot of time and, after a long day of lectures, the last thing I want to do is cook. 

One of the only downsides to being a commuter is the morning commute – if I have a 9am lecture or exam I do have to wake up earlier to be able to make the train. I am not the earliest riser so this can be hard sometimes but I have realised the earlier I wake up the more I get done throughout the day! By the time it is 6 pm, I have spent my most productive hours on university work and can then socialise with friends. 

My biggest advice to students who are unsure about moving out is to weigh up the pros and cons. Consider money, independence, commute time and home life. Some students who live close to campus still decide to move out as they want independence. It can feel like a big decision to make, however if you decide commuting is not for you, the choice to move out the next year is always still an option!