Okay first let’s start with the bad news.
One con of commuting is the heat on the tube. The tube can get very hot. Very hot. It’s not particularly pleasant, even in winter when it’s freezing cold outside I would prefer to be standing in ice like wind than be boiling hot in the tube.
A second con is the occasional train cancellation. When this happens it is very annoying (I haven’t experienced it too much, touch wood, and I’ve been commuting since I was an undergrad, albeit as an undergrad I commuted to Birmingham). One thing I will say about this con is that when a train is cancelled whatever company you are travelling with will provide travel to your destination. Something I would recommend is to always try to travel leaving plenty of time for your journey. I always try to make sure I have a spare 30 to 45 minuets just in case (also because I like to take a leisurely stroll rather than rush).
Another con for commuting is when you’re unwell you can’t just pop into class for an hour and go straight back home. Yes you can do this commuting but it can take longer to get home compared to those living in London, and let’s face it it’s a lot of effort.
Don’t let me scare you off of commuting just yet! There are many pros…
One pro of commuting is money. It’s far cheaper to commute than to live in halls. I’ve been commuting for about 3 years now and trust me I have saved a lot of money. I lived in halls in Birmingham for the first term of my first year during undergrad (I had to move out due to some pretty unfriendly flat mates), and I was nervous about commuting at first, but I started having more money in my bank, I was happy in myself, and my academic work even improved. I ended up saving around £1000 a term during undergrad by commuting (I’m not joking or overestimating) so it’s worth looking into.
Another pro is that, personally, I think commuting is actually pretty good for studying. I read on the train, and I get a lot done. Now I know some may read this and think that won’t work for me because I have travel sickness, but so do I. Quite bad actually. I tend to listen to music while I’m in any moving vehicle (except when I’m driving) and that usually works for me, but I plan to do another post soon about top tips for those with travel sickness. So back to studying, I also find that studying on the train leaves me more time to relax at home, and it can work vice versa. If I know I’m going to have a busy day full of essay writing, classes, reading, volunteering then I make sure I do nothing on my 40 to 50 minute train journey into London. I get to sit and relax, listen to music, binge watch some of my favourite TV (which I download before hand via Netflix or Prime Video which I highly recommend doing) and get to chill out without feeling guilty about it. Having some free time to relax is very important when you’re studying.
A third pro of commuting is personal happiness. While this might be different for many people, I’ve found I’m far happier in myself commuting than living in halls (but this may because of my bad experience). I like having some me time. I like being able to go back to my home, my room and my dog after a long day; which by the way is another major pro, if you have a pet or pets you don’t have to leave them! I’ve found that people’s personalities tend to clash more often than not when you’re living with someone you’ve only just met. I had a few friends at undergrad that found this as well during their second year, their flat mates they got on with in first year, they didn’t second year and that caused a lot of pain for them. I’m not trying to deter anyone from going for halls, but in my experience by commuting I’ve been happy in myself and I have ended up making friends for life. So I suppose my point is when all your family and friends are telling you if you don’t live in halls you’ll miss out on “university life”, in my opinion they’re wrong. I still experience all uni life has to offer.
Pro number four (the pros are already winning) it is very unlikely commuting will affect your academic work. I found as I have noted previously that my academic work improved. My grades increased. I think this was largely because I felt more relaxed commuting, I wasn’t as stressed as I knew I would be going home to my dog and loved ones. I also enjoy studying in my bedroom, it’s set up exactly as I want, it has all my home comforts and once again it has my dog. When I studied on the train I got more done than I initially expected, equally when I relaxed on the train and watched TV I didn’t feel like I wanted to when I got home, I was happy to study for a few hours.
I can think of more pros (and some cons) but I’m going to stop there because I could go on forever. I’m a huge advocate for commuting and would highly recommend it if it’s feasible for you. My next post on here will be the pros and cons for commuting with a chronic illness/ pain condition (as I have Fibromyalgia and Discoid Lupus), so anyone out there reading this with a disability don’t worry I’m going to make a post just for you!
Lots of Love,