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Your guide to loving university
Calling all commuters! We want to make sure you have an amazing time at Christ Church. Here's how...
So you've been offered a place at Christ Church in September and have made the decision to commute to university. It'll save you money on accommodation, the travel costs are still less than accommodation and you're not ready to leave home just yet. There are so many positives to communiting but there might be one question playing at the back of your mind: will I still have an amazing student experience? The answer is a big YES. You may not be living with friends in halls but there are still plenty of ways to make sure you have a fantastic experience at CCCU.
Here are our tip tops on how to make your commuting life a lot less this...
And a lot more THIS...
1) Be productive on your commute
If you’ve got an hour commute on the train, why not make the most of it? Read a chapter of a core textbook, mindmap an essay, start writing your essay if you have your laptop with you, memorise flashcards for exams. You get a head start and have an hour extra to relax at home in the evening.
2) Join a sport or society
Joining a CCSU sport or society is an easy way to meet new people. Come along to Freshers’ Fayre and sign up to any sports and societies that look interesting. Whether it’s for Football or Basketball, Drama or Spanish society, there’s so many things to get involved in. Once you’ve joined, you’ll be able to come along to practices, society meetups and socials. The possibilities of making new friends and great memories are endless!
3) Make an effort with other students on your course
It’s worth making an effort with introducing yourself to other students on your course ast hey are pretty much ready-made friends. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with them over the next few years so suggest to get a coffee in Café 41, go to the cinema or grab a drink in the Lounge one evening after lectures. Soon you’ll have someone to have movie nights and nights out with.
4) Plan to see uni friends on your weekends
Okay, so you won’t be able to turn up at your friends' flat next door with no notice for Dominos pizza and Love Island marathons, but commuting doesn’t mean you have to spend weekends at home. Instead, make plans with the people you’ve already met.
That friend in your Research Methods class? Invite them for a coffee. The English Lit fresher you met at Freshers’ Fayre? Go for a day of retail shopping with your TOTUM card. The girl from society? Go for a drink on Saturday night. Soon, you'll be turning down social invitations as you're so busy!
5) Organise your days
You’re not going to be able to run out of the house at 8:50am ready for the 9am lesson. You’ll also need to make sure you catch the right bus/ train home and get through rush hour if you drive. So plan these times into your day with a schedule.
Once you’ve figured these out, decide when you’re going to do uni work and chores at home. Any spare time you have you can spend socialising and having fun.
Can you spare one afternoon a week where you can be flexible with when you get home so you can say yes to any social events that may pop up? e.g. spontaneous cheeky Nandos with the squad.
6) Daytime events at the SU
What do you think of when you hear the words Freshers’ Week? It may be nights out or clubbing, however that’s not the case at CCSU! We host events in the day and the evening that are very chilled, don’t involve drinking and will work well with your train timetable, like Freshers’ Festival, Freshers’ Fayre, craft afternoons and board game evenings. So put these in your diary, come along and meet other new students.
7) Get involved in the Students Union
As well as a sports and societies and daytime events, there’s plenty of ways to get involved in the Union. Become a Course Rep or stand for Union Council, sit on academic or wellbeing committees or keep a lookout on Unitemps for temporary CCSU staff roles, these are all ways to meet new people and get involved in your university community.
8) Don’t drive!
One essential commuters’ tip: don’t drive if you don’t absolutely need to! Canterbury Ring Road is a nightmare in rush hour, there is limited parking at the university and Canterbury’s car parks are expensive. Either take the bus or train or, if you really must drive, park at the Park and Ride and get the bus into town from there.
If there’s a traffic jam, remember to contact a course friend or lecturer to let them know you’re going to be late to lectures. Keep a bus/ train timetable on your phone or in your bag at all times, so you can double check times in case you’re staying in Canterbury late. Download the Stagecoach/ Trainline apps to keep you up to date on cancellations and delays.
9) Become a personal students-tour-of-Canterbury guide
If you’re local to the area or visit Canterbury frequently, make the most of your knowledge and volunteer to take fellow Freshers’ from your course or society on a tour of Canterbury. They’ll be thankful to have someone show them around and you may end up becoming even closer friends with them- plus it’s an excuse to take them to your favourite pubs, restaurants and cafes.
10) Say no to the drinks
It can be so tempting to overdrink when you’re surrounded by people who are going out 2 or 3 times a week in the first few months, but if you have a sober night out, there are so many perks: you can drive into Canterbury and drive home afterwards, stay out later, you do not have to rely on public transport and there's no need to fork out a hefty sum of money for a taxi. Instead, substitute a vodka and coke for just a cola. Lounge Bar and Ktichen offers cheaper soft drinks for designated drivers, so why not make the most of it?
11) But say yes to everything else!
Our biggest word of advice? Say YES! Meeting new people as a commuting student can be harder than if you’re living in accommodation, so say yes to every new event, social or meetup that you offer. It can be scary but we promise you, it’s totally worth it, and you’ll have just as a great a uni experience as those students in accommodation.
Have a spare second? Check out the rest of our Freshers' minisite for more useful information and articles.