My experience of commuting to university


Faculty: Business and Law
School: School of Management
Course: BSc (Hons) Business with Tourism
Category: Business

12 June 2024

Third-year BSc (Hons) Business with Tourism Management student Althea explains why commuting to university in Cambridge was the right choice for her, and shares her advice for students who are considering doing the same.

I am Althea Necor, a third-year student studying Business with Tourism Management, and I have been commuting to ARU's Cambridge campus. This is because, as I live in a town near to Cambridge, it seemed less expensive and more convenient to travel to the city, instead of renting accommodation on campus.

From my experience, it has been significantly easier to commute to ARU because I did not have to concern myself with finding accommodation every year, which allowed more time for me to focus on my studies, as well as reducing my spending, since I have only had to pay for monthly travel expenses.

If the advantages of commuting sound appealing to you as a student, then I can recommend ways to make commuting easier through advice on travel essentials and tips on dealing with the disadvantages of commuting.

Finding a budget-friendly option

As a commuter student, I mainly chose this option because it was less expensive than living in accommodation, but I also wanted to make sure I travelled in a budget-friendly way. Hence, I listed my transportation options and searched for the different prices available for each of them so that I could choose the least expensive method of travel.

Personally, travelling by bus was the most accessible option because the bus stop was near my house and paying for bus fares through a monthly bus pass achieved my goal to budget travel.

I recommend that potential commuters who want to budget travel also research and create pros and cons lists to make sure they are choosing the right transportation method for them.

Planning ahead

Researching transportation is important so that you are aware of the prices, but also to gain awareness about where the transportation stops and stations are and the times of operation. In gaining this knowledge you can properly prepare for your travel by calculating when you need to get ready for university in the morning and deciding when to leave before the last bus/train journey.

When preparing for your travel, you must be aware of the duration of the journey to make sure you leave enough time to get ready and arrive in time for your lectures and classes, which means consistently updating yourself about transport operation times by downloading an app or looking on the website.

Personally, I found it easier to prepare my outfit, bag, and other essentials the night before to decrease the time it takes for me to get ready, which also reduces the chances of forgetting important things because of rushing in the mornings.

I’m lucky that my bus operates in the evening as it allows me to stay in Cambridge for a longer time. This is convenient because I am able to study in the library for as long as I desire without worrying about travelling back home early.

If the transportation times operate longer for you as well, I recommend taking advantage of the situation by preparing extra snacks and food, as well as books or downloading music or movies so that you have enough entertainment during study breaks.

Later transportation options also mean that you can hang out with your friends outside lectures until late, but also leave time to participate in societies and other fun social activities, because having a sufficient work-life balance in university is important for your mental health.

ARU can help you organise your personal well-being and life with their mental health support services, as well as the Student Union's variety of societies that provide a welcoming and supportive community.

Navigating the disadvantages

One of the main problems I found as a commuter student was that I was unable to participate in many social events held at the University because I lived at home, which reduced my awareness of social events happening.

Therefore, to prevent loneliness and feelings of being left out, I became more proactive and included myself in the ARU’s community by joining societies, as well as planning outside activities and trips with my coursemates.

In doing so, I made long-lasting friendships and became more confident over time. I recommend potential commuters to always be active and participate in the ARU community, as it can allow you to personally develop, gain meaningful connections, and prevent the common problem of feeling lonely and left out.

To reiterate, as a commuter student at ARU, it is important to stay organised about transportation by keeping updated and prepared for your journey, and making sure to remember the essentials such as food, drink, devices, books, and anything else necessary for study and personal reasons.

It is also important to remember the importance of mental health because it can significantly influence your motivation to study. It is vital to have a work-life balance to prevent exhausting yourself with studying, so I recommend commuting to university for social events instead of solely travelling for lectures and study sessions.

Althea studies Business with Tourism Management at ARU in Cambridge. Find out more about this and other degree courses at one of our Open Days.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.