George is a third year student studying Accounting and Finance, who has a puppy, a Yorkie named Ollie!
Once I was accepted into university, I had to decide whether I wanted to live at home or stay in halls local to class. A big reason behind choosing to commute was the cost. People always say living in London is expensive, and they are right! I travelled in most days of the week so I invested in a student oyster travel-card (which is a great money saver) giving me unlimited travel in London.
This was actually good when going out with classmates, I had travelling already sorted! In addition, I found it easy to keep in touch with school friends as well as make new ones at university, so it was the best of both worlds in that sense.
And personally, I’d also just gotten a little puppy and I wasn’t looking forward to leaving him, and I could enjoy cooking when I wanted and not because I had to all the time if living in halls!
How to spend the commute time?
I take the underground in and luckily, it’s just the one line without changing trains. It takes just over an hour door to door. For the first few weeks of first year, I was really keen on reading my lecture notes and getting a head start on work however I found this actually made the trip pretty stressful.
Instead, I try and fill the hour either by relaxing, so I can be recharged whichever direction I am heading. I may listen to a podcast, read a book or chat to a friend; things I would probably be doing some other point in the day. Having said that, it’s also really useful if I have an upcoming test, it gives me an extra hour of cramming in the morning!
Upsides vs Downsides
There are of course some downsides. Living far from uni may mean you miss out on some evening events or nights out. Even as a day student, there’s so much to do in London. It’s easy to go out for a bite to eat, go to the cinema or get some shopping in, so I’ve never really felt like I’m missing out on things living away.
London is known for its rush hour, and anyone can be caught up in it. After a few weeks I wasn’t enjoying how busy the journey was becoming (see the busy escalator at Angel station—>).
I always tried to take an off-peak train; it’s much quieter and would cost £2.05 instead of £5.10 each way. If I had to come in for a 9 o’clock start then I would catch the train at 6.30am, head to the gym or go swimming before getting breakfast and heading to class. I found this made my day much more productive, and I looked forwards to the commute even with the early mornings.
Having made the journey for 3 years now, although it is tiring and can be a chore, I would say the upsides are worth it. I felt like I was a part of the university community, and it’s really common for students to commute, most days I would be travelling, I would meet a friend on the tube!