University life as a commuting student: 3 ways to help you settle in
When most people hear the word “university,” they think of halls of residence and partying seven days a week.
However, for many students, living at home and commuting backwards and forwards from campus each day is the reality.
With most freshers rolling out of bed at 8:30 am for a 9 am lecture, many commuting students are up and awake at the crack of dawn; left eating their breakfast on a train or stuck in a car whilst enduring the joys of rush hour traffic jams.
On top of the complications of making it on time to lectures—without falling asleep mid commute—many students living at home during the time of their studies also face the daunting prospect of making friends, and not missing out on the epic social life which is so often associated with university.
I’ve gathered three top tips for settling into university life as a commuting student, in order to help you to still get your fair share of the famous university experience, whilst not living directly on campus.
1. Make an effort
If you’re a fresher, your first ever day at university can be an extremely nerve-wracking one. However, it’s important to remember that everyone else is in the same boat—and probably feeling just as nervous as you!
So, try to talk to as many people as possible on your first day and the weeks to follow. Make yourself known to your course mates and get to know them as much as you can in your first few introductory sessions. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time around these people; and when it comes to group work, knowing your course mates well beforehand will make assignments (and life) so much easier!
Think of it this way, the friends you meet at university often end up being friends for life, so the girl you sit next to on your first day might also be sat at your wedding 10 years later!
2. Use social media
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Before your first day even arrives, use social media to connect with people on your course, so you see a few familiar faces when you walk into your first few classes.
A great way to do this is to join Facebook pages set up specifically for your course, or even pages for commuting students at your chosen university. As well as this, there's also a great app specifically for connecting with your course mates before your first term starts: "Campus Society." All you have to do is set up a profile with the name of your course and university, and you can connect with people from across the world who you'll soon be sharing lectures with.
In most cases, you’ll be able to join group chats with these people in order to get to know other students beforehand—which is a great way to ease those first-day nerves!
3. Join societies and get involved
One great way to meet new friends with similar interests at university is to join societies which you’re passionate about. Not only will this introduce you to fellow students which you have something in common with, but it’ll also introduce you to a whole range of activities set up specifically for society members. This is a perfect way to kickstart your university social life, as most events take place outside of lectures, and don’t clash with your timetables.
As well as events organised for societies, most universities also organise events and activities for all students to take part in. These can include day trips away or even sports competitions and fundraising events. Taking part in as many of these as possible will introduce you to a wide variety of people, from other courses and years, who you can get to know in a fun and social environment.
The best way to find these events is to follow your university on social media, and keep an eye out around campus for posters and noticeboards advertising what’s going on in the weeks and months to follow. Also—ask people and get involved!