To stay or to go
For students whose chosen university is their local university, one of the toughest questions is whether to live on campus or stay at home and commute. If you’re in this position you probably would have heard people telling you ‘you won’t get the uni experience living at home,’ or ‘your parents will drive you crazy after a while’ or even, ‘you’ll get bored of driving to campus every day’. Whilst these are common sayings, they’re generally from the mouths of students who haven’t commuted themselves.
Speaking from experience of commuting for just under two years now, I can say that it has genuine benefits that will leave your friends laughing – or at least those who believe the quotations above to be true! Still, for those of you who are undecided, or have already decided to commute but want a little more reassurance that they’ll enjoy university as much as those living on campus, I’ve written a list of advantages for university commuters.
The smartest place to begin with this topic is the deemed-awkward scenario of making friends. It seems so easy when you start school – within ten minutes, you’re in the middle of the playground talking and laughing with other children. But the concept of making friends as a late teenager is a concern for most, especially if you decide to live at home. However, fear not, it’s a problem that can be overcome if you’re willing to put in the effort.
Use social media
Every summer when students receive their university offers, they tend to become part of a Facebook group for all the prospective students attending that year, and it’s very common for people to post asking who’s living in the same flat or house. As someone living at home, why not make friends by asking who else is commuting? You may get a large group of people respond. You could make a group chat with them and after you’re all acquainted, arrange to meet and go bowling or have a meal, so that you already know some new friendly faces when you finally start autumn term. You may even find someone willing to car share saving you both some money better spent on books…or nights out! Don’t be afraid to post first, people are waiting to reply and make friends.
Join a society
Another way to make sure you stay involved and meet new people is to join a society or a club. If you haven’t seen what’s available yet then check Kent Union Societies. There is something for everyone, from the Creative Writing society to the Paintball society and even the Real Ale & Cider society if you prefer to make friends over a pint in one of Canterbury’s finest pubs. There is something to suit every interest and you’ll meet a diverse range of people from all kinds of backgrounds. On the other hand, if there really is one specific subject or activity that you’re crazy about that isn’t featured on the societies’ page then why not start your own club? Similarly, if your talents lie within a particular sport as opposed to the various societies, then try out for the sports teams either competitively or for leisure. It means that you can keep fit whilst making friends and you might even bag yourself a gym buddy while you’re at it!
One of the biggest benefits for living at home are the pennies you’ll pocket without even realising it. Although thriving with students, Canterbury is not necessarily student-friendly when it comes to on-campus accommodation particularly student housing for 2nd and 3rd year students. Living at home means you could potentially halve your spending compared to living in the city, as your only expense is travel. It also means you can keep your hometown job if you have one so that you can still have money coming in whilst also making huge savings. The money you save can be used for socialising and taking part in the suggestions above to ensure you’re making the most of your university experience despite not living directly on campus. There is so much to do in Canterbury’s city centre and you don’t want to miss out on a theatre trip or dinner and cocktails with your new friends because you’re worried about not having the money to.
Where to stay after a night out?
The final point I want to make will hopefully ease your mind and offers a solution to the dreaded problem of ‘where do I stay after a night out?’ Firstly this really isn’t something worth worrying over providing you put in the effort to make friends. You’ll meet people at the sports clubs and societies who live on campus, or if you manage to get a job on-campus that fits in nicely with your timetable, you’ll make new friends at work who live locally. Not to forget the friends you’ll make in lectures and seminars who you’ll see pretty much every day and work alongside. You will meet so many new people that there will never be the worry of where to stay if you want to go to Venue one night, or go for drinks in town. From experience, people are generous: they’ll always be willing to let you crash on their floor if it means they get to go out with you and a group of friends for a work-free night! So if you’re worried about missing out on the nightlife at university, don’t be!
So for anyone looking to commute to university there really is nothing to worry about as long as you put yourself out there and make the effort to get involved. Going to university will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, and many people make lifelong friends out of it.
Hopefully this has covered any queries and fears you might have had about commuting and put your mind at rest. If you have other questions you want answering about commuting or living at home, feel free to drop me an email and I’ll be happy to talk to you.
Fitness freak, fashion fanatic, Egyptology enthusiast, Motown maniac; the list goes on… My name is Rhian Head and I’m a 21-year-old second year BBA student, hoping to break into the world of Event Planning and Management after university!
As a Kent local, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying Canterbury since a young age and love the buzz of the city! My (slightly far-fetched but not impossible) plan is to finish my degree, land a job in London with the opportunity to travel and plan prestigious parties and weddings for high profile people.
2 responses to “Commuting to University: The Benefits”
Thank you so much for this article, I’ve been in 2 minds as to whether to commute to my chosen university which is a 20 minute drive from me. I’ve seen so many negative articles on commuting but this has given me some reassurance. A weight has been lifted!
Hello Jasmin, thank you for the comment, we’re glad you found this article useful.