Imagine living so close to your preferred university that you have the choice to live at home OR in university halls…it’s a tough decision I bet! The University of Salford is committed to delivering the best student experience to all its students, whether they live on campus or not – so what is the life of a student commuter actually like?
I spoke to first-year student Aya and third-year Psychology student Eve…one thing they have in common? You guessed it, they both commute to university.
Why did you choose the University of Salford?
Aya: I got in through Clearing. I had plenty of other offers – but the University of Salford was the only university that stood out to me because they were so quick to respond, so understanding and helpful. I had the most comfortable phone call ever, despite how stressful Clearing can be. From that point onward, I knew Salford was where I should be.
Eve: I was at the Open University and I wanted to switch to a brick university. From contacting Salford, they were so helpful and did everything that they could to make me feel better and get me in for a tour before I started. I live with my children, so the locality of Salford was another great reason for me to choose it.
How long is your commute to university?
Aya: Because I live in the outskirts of Manchester, there are multiple routes for me to get to Salford. I usually get the tram, I find it’s the easiest option – the travel links that Salford has to Manchester are great! Commuting does mean that you have to leave the house fairly early to make those 9am lectures, but I’m so used to the commute now I don’t mind it.
Eve: I’m quite lucky – I drive to university and it takes around 20 minutes. It can take a little bit longer if it’s around 8:30am and my drive coincides with the school run. If I have a 9:00am lecture I set off at 8:00am so I can miss the traffic and get parked up with plenty of time to spare. However, going home is a different story! If I leave at around 5:00pm my journey time can go up to an hour.
How many days do you commute?
Aya: I work as a Student Ambassador and Student Marshal alongside my studies, so I can be in either four or five days a week.
Eve: It varies – I only have lectures two days a week, but I have picked up an opportunity to be a research assistant within the department so I’ll be coming in two to three days a week for that as well.
Why did you choose not to stay in student halls?
Aya: My parents and I agreed that as Salford is close to my home so it would be easier and cheaper for me to stay living at home for my first year. Both my brother and I go to university so reducing costs as much as possible is important.
Eve: I have family at home – so as I’m a mature student juggling studying and the school run obviously I would love to come and party in the halls, but it’s not realistically an option for me!
Did you take part in Welcome Week? And how did you find it as a commuter student?
Aya: Yes. I loved it! I used Welcome Week as a time to trial all the different options I have for travelling to university.
Eve: I came to quite a few groups – there was a mature students event and a parents event, because they are all set out in a schedule you can really plan ahead. I didn’t go to any nights out, but I did go to the activities in the day.
Do you know many people that commute?
Aya: Yes, the majority of my friends commute.
Eve: I’m the same, I think on health-related courses there’s a lot of mature students, so a lot of people have families. I don’t actually know anyone who lives in halls, I only know people who commute in! A lot of them get the train – they all meet up to come in which is nice.
What would you say the pros and cons are of living at home?
Aya: It’s so comfortable when you get home, you know you can go and relax without having to deal with people you’ve just met and mess that’s not necessarily yours. At home it’s your siblings – so that’s alright. I’ve been able to concentrate on university. Commuting is a hassle, but if I get a car – which I hopefully will, it should take about half an hour.
I’d say the cost of travel is the downside to commuting – and the time it takes. It’s not as convenient.
Eve: It’s like having two separate lives. You go home and you have that home life, which is comfortable and normal and then you go to university and you have a separate university life. The cons are, well, I’d maybe say you miss out on the partying but if that’s not your thing it’s not really a con. Even if I lived in halls I don’t think I’d go out clubbing anyway. I really enjoy living at home and travelling in.
A big thank you to both Aya and Eve for having a chat with me!
In a nutshell – you don’t have to relocate for university if your favourite is on your doorstep. Do whatever feels comfortable for you, and don’t stress about missing out or not being included – your schedule can be as busy as you want it to be!
Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below if you have any questions about commuting, halls or Welcome Week!👇
Originally published May 14 2019