Before starting here at QMUL you might feel like you are going to be one of the few students who are commuting in from outside of East London. However, that’s far from the truth! Approximately 50% of QMUL geography students commute to university, whilst 25% of students commute to university from over an hour away. I’m in that 25% who have the longest commute. I travel in every day from just outside of Southend-on-Sea- its roughly a two hour journey each way.
After two years of travelling I have learnt a lot about what it is like to experience up to four hours of travel every single day. These are some of the top things that I feel you need to know about commuting to QMUL (especially if you are travelling for over an hour like me).
- Check before you travel! I know this is relevant for everyone who commutes to university but it’s even more important if you are using two modes of public transport or a particularly unreliable service. Believe me, you will be shocked when you discover just how often there are delays on services. At least once a week my overground service is delayed due to ‘signal failures’ or a ‘broken down train’ or due to ‘extreme weather conditions’. Which brings us on to point number two…
- Be prepared for delays. Seriously, have a back-up plan or route you can take into university. Don’t get the last possible train you can. Instead, get one that gets you in 15-20mins before your lecture starts. However– don’t stress if you do get caught up in delays. Most lecturers keep the doors unlocked and aren’t overly bothered if you sneak into the back of the lecture hall late. And, if the worst comes to the worst, you can catch up on most lectures using the Q-Review system (QMUL’s lecture recording system).
- Wear comfortable shoes! If you take away anything from this post then please let it be this point! Yes, those shoes might look ‘really cute’ and, in my case, hide the fact that I’m incredibly short but; foot pain is one of the worst pains you can experience during rush hour. During my first year, my feet were almost constantly covered in blisters and bruises. Don’t suffer like I did; look after your feet and wear comfortable shoes!
- Plan your time wisely. If you are commuting to university then it’s likely that at some point over the next three years you will be faced with a five hour+ break between classes. Those breaks are the worse because they are too short for you to nip back home but too long for you to just pass the time in a café. Sometimes it is hard but try to make the most of the time when you are ‘stuck’ at university. Plan what work you want to get done during that period and bring in all the resourcse you need. If you do this, then the time won’t drag so much and you’ll be able to justify taking the evening off once you eventually get home.
- Still remember to ‘look after the pennies’. It’s common knowledge that commuting to QMUL is significantly cheaper than living on campus but if you aren’t wise with your money, then those ‘savings’ can quickly disappear. Still be careful – check that you are purchasing the cheapest train tickets you can and try taking a packed lunch instead of splashing out on lunch every day of the week. Future you will be grateful for it!
Photo source: commute