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How far do you/or would you commute to uni?

(14 Posts)
BabyDubsEverywhere Wed 11-Sep-13 02:25:29

I spend 2.5 hours ish each way. First year this was 3/4 days a week, this year it will be 5 days a week - 12 hours contact over 5 days - nightmare! I get a bus and two trains each way, so not one continuous journey, I manage to get a bit of reading done but not nearly as much as I expected if I am honest. I spend a lot of time standing on the trains - hard to read whilst hanging on and jostling for space!

But I love my Uni and wouldn't have wanted to go anywhere else. They say to expect a full time course to take around 40 hrs a week, well with travel and study and contact mine comes to about 65 hours... luckily I love my course so it is worth it.

You need to sort out the parenting responsibilities though - I have three (6, 4, and 1) and due with fourth in April. I couldn't do this course if DH wasn't 100% supportive, practically taking over with the children and housework completely when I have had a lot of reading or essays due.

redexpat Wed 28-Aug-13 12:01:30

Depends entirely on if your reading material is available as an audiobook. If yes, then drive for an easier life. If not, then take the train because that is two hours reading time everyday.

I have 45 minute drive each way, and nothing is available on audio book. The days I have to go to college I lose an hour and a half which could be spent reading. SOOOO annoying. Good luck.

ChunkyFicken Wed 03-Jul-13 13:54:04

Oh well done Madsometimes - they are indeed results to be proud of! grin

We sound similar - I haven't worked for 17 years so this is a big step for me too. I am having to call on organisational skills that all mature students/mothers supposedly possess but which I seem to have hidden well!

flufftastic that makes my commute look positively wimpish! I take my hat off to you. I do think the one hour's train ride mitigates the stress of commuting/travelling on the Tube. Or I hope so!

flufftastic Tue 02-Jul-13 20:18:24

I did my undergrad Bsc Midwifery whilst commuting (1hr-1.5hr depending on traffic) with a 2 year old to take care of. It was grueling, especially with the shifts. Plus the fact I am a single parent.
But it was do-able, I had a fab childminder who would take DS from 6am. I did miss out on social things which is a shame, but I think that is rather more to do with being a single parent than the commute.
If I could have sat on a train, I think it would have been much more pleasant.

Good luck smile

Madsometimes Tue 02-Jul-13 07:40:17

My two will be 10 and 13 when I start. Like you, I did an access course this year to get myself back into the swing of studying. The college I studied at was close to the uni, so I am used to the commute. Although Access was only 3 days per week, and only one full day, so not quite as full on.

Even if uni doesn't work out for me, I'm ridiculously pleased with my access results. I had to get two science subjects all at distinction, which worked out as 33 credits. In fact I exceeded that, getting 60 (although I will have 9 level 2 credits on my certificate because of mandatory maths units).

I'm guessing you are a similar age to me. I haven't worked since having dc, so this is v daunting for me.

ChunkyFicken Mon 01-Jul-13 20:23:55

Thanks ever so Madsometimes - your post has really helped. You're right, driving for an hour won't be much fun! At least on a train I can read/doze/listen to the radio and drink coffee...

It's nice to read that someone else is planning on commuting to London. Although my decision making is tinged with guilt, as I don't have to go to the far away uni, unlike you.

Actually, feel a bit wimpy reading your plans! I'll only have eight contact hours spread over three days! I have a large family, youngest is seven. Do you have little ones? Good luck, I'll be interested to hear how you get on!

Madsometimes Mon 01-Jul-13 16:20:41

Btw I'm starting uni in London, and will have a 1h 10 min commute. My course is vocational and will be full on lectures and practicals, so I'm expecting to be in from 9-5 every day. My uni is the only institution locally to offer the course, so it was the only one I applied to. I'm 40, and must be crazy.

Madsometimes Mon 01-Jul-13 16:13:14

I don't think that RG is the be all and end all descriptor of a great university. If you look at the uni rankings there are 2 non-RG unis in the top 10, and 6 in the top 20. However, you have said on another thread that you want to study English. Given that it is an academic subject, then I think you need to consider an academic uni. From what I can infer, your local uni is not a highly ranking non-RG institution, but a newer university.

If I were you, I would go for the commute. The one hour drive to your local uni doesn't sound pleasant either. What age range are your dc (are they school age)?
You may find that you only have a few hours of contact time each week. I think you need to go for the best uni that you can.

ChunkyFicken Sun 30-Jun-13 22:33:56

Thank you all, you've given me much to think about.

signet does your 1hr 15mins journey to London include the Tube? I have to say, the actual commuting isn't what I'm too bothered about although other people sort of suck their breath in when I mention it.

Almost everyone I talk to automatically assumes I'll be heading off to the local (not v inspiring) uni. Which I find annoying and guilt-inducing!

HTFU I never considered the non-RG, closer uni might not be challenging. I assumed they'd all be the same sort of level. Something to think about.

MrsHoarder that sounds stressful. I am hoping I'll have childcare sorted (with good back up plans) but know I will be stressing/champing at the bit to get home. However, I think that will be the same where ever I go.

Sadly, moving for us is not an option. Would be nice though. Oh to be young!

MrsHoarder Sun 30-Jun-13 19:57:39

I commute over an hour if the traffic is good and I drive instead of taking the train.

My MSc is supposed to be block-taught on 2 days a week so it can be done part-time in a job, but I've still had problems with one-off 15 minute things taking hours out of my day, meeting up for group work out accessing special facilities.

Plus needing to be home on time to get ds from nursery and its very stressful. And I can't decide to take the train easily, that takes over 2 hours.

I would move closer for a good 3 year course if possible.

HotelTangoFoxtrotUniform Sun 30-Jun-13 19:55:00

I chose my local university over a better one with just over an hour commute last year. It was the wrong choice - I am not challenged at the university and I'm bored rigid. I'd go for better academic credentials if I were making the same choice again.

signet Sun 30-Jun-13 19:52:24

I'm currently commuting one hour and fifteen minutes to Uni in London. It really is no bother at all as the timetable means mostly travelling outside of rush-hour and I've discovered all sorts of new radio shows. I really thought at first that I would struggle with the commute but it has been straight forward. Even taking into account getting 3 children to school and picking them up at the end of the day.

It really is surprisingly easy to fit into a routine once you get going. I've just completed my first year and all the problems that I thought would arise have come to nothing. I've made friends despite the commute and we just meet up before/after lectures for coffee. Also group work has been done over Skype/email as well as during the day at Uni.

Overall the commute has been the best thing. A whole hour to myself with no-one talking at me unless you count the radio. Sheer bliss!

ditavonteesed Sun 30-Jun-13 18:31:33

one hour commute is my applying rule.

ChunkyFicken Sun 30-Jun-13 18:30:32


This is my first post on MN but have been stalking the v useful Student Parents Forum. I'd like to know, for those who study at university, how far you travel.

I've got to decide which uni to go to in Sept: the Russell Group one in London which would be an hour and 45 mins on the train and tube or the non-RG one an hour's drive away.

OH thinks it would be too knackering to travel to London. We have a big family and everything to do with the children has historically fallen on my shoulders (which I'm trying to change a bit).

I rather think an hour sat on a train would be bliss but can appreciate I may have a romantic view of it! I also think going up three days a week for 22 weeks a year won't be the same as commuting for work. It would be so different to my usual routine, and so worth it, that I don't think I would mind.

However, there are probably things I would find tricky, in hindsight, like fitting in time to meet study buddies, going for a coffee, doing group work. Is there anything else I've not thought about that would impact my studies? Would the whole commuting thing be detrimental? I'd imagine there'd be a lot of commuting students going to a London uni.

Any insights commuting student parents can give me would be great!

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