In 2016 I started looking at which university I wanted to go to, I knew that as a mature student that I would be commuting to uni, as I have children and a home of my own so halls was never an option for me, so I started looking at all the unis in my area. As I don’t drive it would need to be one that is accessible by public transport. Luckily Leeds Beckett offered everything I wanted and more. Both the train and the bus stations are around a 10-minute walk away from city campus which is where I knew I would be based and so seemed ideal. There are also buses between both stations right up to the campus which is great.
I think the thing that can sometimes put people off when considering commuting to uni is the time it takes. For me it takes around an hour and a half to get from my house to uni, an hour of which is spent sitting on one bus. My best advice is, use that time! Have a look through your readings, read your lecture notes, catch up on your emails. I have found that time just having a quick catch up to be pretty invaluable. It does take a bit more planning when you live out/away from uni but once you have planned your routes and have done it a few times it becomes a great routine. I won’t lie, the early mornings can be hard when I have a 9am lecture but those are the mornings my travel cup is full of coffee and a quick power nap en route is not unheard of.
Another thing to consider is the cost. There are so many discounts available to students from metro cards to rail cards that there are so many ways to keep your bank balance happy. Personally, I opted for the student metro card (available from the metro office at the bus station if you take in your student ID or letter confirming your university place). This was a free card that enabled me to buy reduced fare tickets per term/semester. And, let’s face it, the cost of a bus pass is much less than living in halls.
As a commuting student I was really worried that I would miss out on things. That other students who were living in halls or in the City Centre would get a better “student experience” than me and I can honestly say that that is not the case at all. I have made some great friends at uni, I have joined some amazing societies and been on some brilliant nights out. I can genuinely say that there is something for everyone at Leeds Beckett and I couldn’t recommend it as a place to study enough. The support I have received from student services, the Social Sciences faculty and the Students’ Union has been outstanding. From support with my childcare needs to advice on my student finance they have answered all of my questions and never failed to put my mind at ease with any query I have had.
In short, if you’re reading this because you’re thinking of coming to Leeds Beckett, just do it! I love it here. My course is brilliant, and I am so glad I made this decision.