Top Tips for Commuter Students

Top Tips for Commuter Students

Our guide to your first steps here as a commuter student!

Posted 13th September 2020 at 12:00pm
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Top Tips for Commuter Students
You might think you have a different experience being a commuter student, or that it won’t feel the same for you as someone who lives on campus. But being a commuter student is actually common for Medway because a lot of students live local to Kent already, or in London, or are mature and/or parents who already have their home. 

You can tailor your experience to get the best of both worlds and we are here to support you into making Medway your second home!

1.    Networking – when you first come to campus everyone is in the same boat, no one knows anyone and everything is new. You will find a tonne of networking and meet & greet events for all kinds of groups and courses where you can start to get to know your peers. These can range from academic to social so whatever your preference make sure you make the most of these opportunities. Networking can sound very formal but it’s as simple and getting the chance to meet a variety of people in a short space of time! Make sure to check events pages on your unions, universities and with us, your services here at Medway!

2.    Casual Sports – You might be able to join a sport club and that’s fantastic, not only will you make friends, you will feel part of a team and also get to play your favourite sport. But perhaps the pressure of commitment isn’t for you right now, you can always make the most of our social sports programme Team Medway Social which is a free for all, no-commitment programme of a variety of fitness activities. You can find something traditional like casual football or try your hand at the one-off events like our massive hit last year Quasar Laser! Team Medway Social’s programme will go live here.

3.    Join Societies -  Societies in a nutshell are clubs for your favourite lifestyles, hobbies and movements. Due to the unique way in which we enter term 1 2020 nearly all the societies will be meeting virtually which means there is no limitation to what you can attend. You might find that being able to meet a group online for your first weeks here sets up a great set of friends and hobbies that you might have missed before! Make sure when meet ups happen in person again you get the details so you can plan to attend – and get your voice heard if their meet up time doesn’t suit your commuting schedule just let the president know, they will be more than happy to accommodate. If you want to see a list of societies, you can join head to this page.

4.    Attend on-campus events – If you are worrying that on-campus events are intimidating because everyone else seems to know each other. More often than not this is not true, on campus events are open to everyone and there are A LOT of people on campus so the chances of everyone knowing everyone is very slim. If you are shyer, you could always invite a course mate or fellow commuter to come with you. There will be plenty of chances for you to attend a casual one off event that suits your interests and this can be a great way to let off steam, and do something fun that works around your schedule. For events with no commitments, free or student rate costs, open to Greenwich and Kent students look here.

5.    Plan your time – We strongly advise investing in a planner or making use of your laptop’s calendar. The best way to live your best life is knowing exactly what it is your supposed to living at that moment. It might mean you have a bit more of a schedule to juggle but getting your head around a simple timetable can help you stay connected and studious so it’s a total win-win. If you know you have late lectures on the Thursday, make Wednesday night the one you stay out late. If you know that a group are planning a party three weekends from now – whack it in the planner and keep track of all the places your friends want you to be!

6.    Make use of gaps in your timetable - Leading on from this, it’s a good idea to get to grips with you timetable as early as possible so you know exactly where you are supposed be and plan your routes how to get there and back. This sounds super simple but a lot of students confessed to not having a copy of their timetables in a recent studentsavvy post. Make sure your timetable includes the slots that you’ve organised also. If you know that your lecture ends at 12pm and your next study group is not until 6pm (it’s so annoying when they do that) then why not set aside 2-4pm as your essential reading time?

7.    Make the most of the friends you make -  if you have made some friends on campus why not ask organise staying over theirs on the weekend and get to spend more time with them. Share costs of take out and get cracking with that game you both love. University life extends far beyond your time in lectures and arranging to have lunch together or attend events in the next month are great ways to have something to look forward to whilst you study.

8.    Organise events yourself – what better way to ensure you can attend an event if you are the one hosting it! Whether it’s official through us at GKSU (your suggestions are always welcome), maybe you want to start your own society, or just keep it casual by running it yourself between a few friends. There is nothing stopping you from bringing the party to you. This is a great way of getting to know a lot of people because everyone loves hanging out so why not invite people from your course, or your friend’s housemates also. Having a couple of friends who don’t each other over for a brunch or meeting at the cinema creates an easy group to hang out with that you can call on when you’re free.

9.    Stay connected with friends from here and home -  the most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to choose between your home life or uni. You have your home life AND uni. And the most surefire way of keeping on top of your many commitments is to have balance. Remember that both of these places act as your home and so why not make them as comfortable as possible by keeping yourself surrounded by those who support you. There’s nothing wrong in having to turn down a few coffee dates because you’ve made plans with the other group. And you will find that with the right amount of ‘play’ the work element feels a lot more capable.

10.    Use your commute time to your advantage - an advantage you have over others being a commuter is that you have a set amount of time to book end your day which is totally up to you how you spend. You could, like most of us would, spend this time to rest. Complete your day with a podcast or Spotify and give your brain a break from everything you’ve taken on over the course of the day. Rest is important for memory so if you know you will be busy again when you’re home then this time is essential for you! You could also use this time to finish off minor tasks and organise yourself. Tick off all those emails and calls you needed to do, plan out your next day, or makes notes about a topic while it’s still in your mind. You might find you cut down on nearly all your tiny tasks which you previously never found time for.

11.    Follow your university and unions on social media – following your university, unions and us on social media will mean you get all the information you need about upcoming changes, events or news that you might miss from posters around campus. There is so much support and advice available to you on all aspects of university life and so having updates now and again will mean you get to take part in the conversations that truly shape your experience. It’s the billboard of the virtual world!

12.    Put the big dates in the diary – there are some milestone dates of university which are open to everyone and you can attend them all if you keep a track of when they come up. Fairs, festivals, competitions and awards are there to celebrate YOU. No student is entitled to them more than any other so be sure to have them in your mind as you look ahead at your term. The freebies, performances and food vans aren’t here for our benefit.

13.    Get a full timetable of all shuttles, busses and trains – if you have your own car GREAT this part doesn’t apply to you! But having an idea of when you can get to and from home means that you will be able to be more spontaneous with your choice of study and social time. Knowing that you’ve got 4 busses left until the end of the night could mean that while you are on a roll in the library with your essay you can change your plans to stay longer and keep up the good progress. Knowing these schedules will give you so much more flexibility to spend your day as YOU want.

14.    Arrive early – we know it’s hard. No one wants to get up that extra 15 minutes or cut their lunch short. But everyone now and again it will really work in your favour. Arriving early means you get to chat to others before lectures or events start and this could be a way for you to keep in the loop for on-campus matters. You don’t need to rush in, have the lecture, and go home – that bit of social rest will stave off any feelings of isolation. Small change = big win!

15.    Connect with other commuters – seeking out other commuter students will be easy as pie if you attend our coffee meet events such as this one here. You could set up a carpool which could save you money and boredom. Plan to get the same journey home and chat about your day on the bus journey back. You can even find others on your course who commute and compare methods of how you learn, manage your time and tips on where they go for their breaks. Like we said in the beginning commuting is more common than you think so find someone to share it with!