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Will I be able to make friends commuting?

I've applied to uni and intend on commuting because it's cheaper and works out better for me but my concern is that I won't be able to make friends. People I've spoken to have advised me that commuting makes it difficult to form friends. Is this true, because I don't want my time at uni to be lonely?

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Original post by Anonymous #1
I've applied to uni and intend on commuting because it's cheaper and works out better for me but my concern is that I won't be able to make friends. People I've spoken to have advised me that commuting makes it difficult to form friends. Is this true, because I don't want my time at uni to be lonely?
Hi there,

I can't really speak from a commuter perspective myself as I live in student halls, but most of my friends at uni are commuting students. I can understand why commuting may be concerning, but quite honestly I don't actually have many strong friendships with people I have lived with in the past two years. It may be that commuting puts you further away from others who might have easier access to more students and easier access to meeting up with others by living closer to uni, but I think as long as you make the effort to get to know people, you shouldn't have too much of a problem.

I am able to make plans with my commuting friends with no issues - we just plan a little in advance. When you arrive try to make conversation with others on your course best you can, maybe have a look at some societies you could join, and try to be open-minded about making friends. It may happen quickly, or take some more time, but you'll get there.

Hope this helps. :smile:
Emily
Student Rep at BCU
Reply 2
Hello!
I’m a commuter actually! Any questions you want to ask me go ahead :smile:
Id like to clarify that a common misconception is commuters don’t make friends, I have so many great Uni friends, the one thing i would say it takes more effort in first year.
Ive found since all my friends live in different houses across the city now their walk is the same time if not longer than my drive.

I remember using the student room to ask for advice about commuting and i remember getting some lovely messages, but also a few very cruel ones. No one should feel shame if they are commuting, especially if its the right choice for them.
For me it was and still is a matter of family illness, a lot of my friends prioritised moving out, but my family needed me more than ever when i started University, so i made the decision to commute.

If i go out at night i tend to just sleep at my friends, they don’t mind :smile:
Original post by Anonymous #1
I've applied to uni and intend on commuting because it's cheaper and works out better for me but my concern is that I won't be able to make friends. People I've spoken to have advised me that commuting makes it difficult to form friends. Is this true, because I don't want my time at uni to be lonely?

Hi!

Your concerns about commuting are completely understandable, and I've met a lot of students who've worried about similar. But the truth is, no matter whether you commute to university or live in halls, making friends at university requires a little effort - whether that's through joining societies or attending those icebreaker sessions during freshers week.

What I would say is that as long as you make that effort in your first year and talk to your coursemates and connect with those around you, you'll be absolutely fine. Lots of my close friends are commuters, and even though we might not live near each other, we regularly hang out before/after lectures and organise weekly nights out. Try asking people on your course if they want to grab a coffee when your lecture's wrapping up, or ask if they want to do a group study session - you never know, they could be in the exact same situation as you and would love the opportunity to form a few more friendships! :smile:

Eve (Kingston Rep).
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by Anonymous #1
I've applied to uni and intend on commuting because it's cheaper and works out better for me but my concern is that I won't be able to make friends. People I've spoken to have advised me that commuting makes it difficult to form friends. Is this true, because I don't want my time at uni to be lonely?
Hey!

First off, kudos on applying university! Commuting totally has its perks it's budget-friendly, and if it suits your situation, that's a smart move.

Sure, living on campus might offer more immediate proximity, but there are plenty of opportunities to connect even if you're not a resident. Clubs, societies, and events are your secret weapons. Join a few that align with your interests and attend gatherings.

Also, don't underestimate the power of study groups. Commuters and residents alike often form study circles, and that friendship can easily extend beyond academics. As a commuter myself who found their friends during breaks between classes or at the campus coffee shop. You'll be surprised at how naturally friendships can blossom.

If you have more questions or need more tips on navigating uni life, feel free to reach out!

Best Wishes,
Arslan University of Salford Student Representative
Reply 5
Original post by University of Salford Student Rep
Hey!
First off, kudos on applying university! Commuting totally has its perks it's budget-friendly, and if it suits your situation, that's a smart move.
Sure, living on campus might offer more immediate proximity, but there are plenty of opportunities to connect even if you're not a resident. Clubs, societies, and events are your secret weapons. Join a few that align with your interests and attend gatherings.
Also, don't underestimate the power of study groups. Commuters and residents alike often form study circles, and that friendship can easily extend beyond academics. As a commuter myself who found their friends during breaks between classes or at the campus coffee shop. You'll be surprised at how naturally friendships can blossom.
If you have more questions or need more tips on navigating uni life, feel free to reach out!
Best Wishes,
Arslan University of Salford Student Representative
Hi,

Thanks for this, I'll take this advice on board 🙂
Original post by Anonymous #1
I've applied to uni and intend on commuting because it's cheaper and works out better for me but my concern is that I won't be able to make friends. People I've spoken to have advised me that commuting makes it difficult to form friends. Is this true, because I don't want my time at uni to be lonely?
Hi there,

While I'm not a commuter, I've definitely heard these concerns before. Commuting can be a great option to keep down costs and be convenient for you, but an issue that many people speak about is how they can still make meaningful friendships while not living on campus.

I think a big part of this is to make sure you are making an effort. Go to as many events as you can, such as the sports and society fairs, mixers, activities on- and off-campus, and course activities. This way you can ensure you are being an active member of your community, and meeting as many people as you can. Join any clubs you are interested in and try to be social and approachable, and I'm sure you'll be just fine!

I have a few friends that commute, and we just have to make sure we plan slightly in advance to ensure they can get there and leave at a good time. We still have a lot of fun together, but it just takes some extra effort - which is worth it!

I hope this helps and best of luck,

Isabella
Third-year Geography with a Year Abroad Student
Original post by Anonymous #1
I've applied to uni and intend on commuting because it's cheaper and works out better for me but my concern is that I won't be able to make friends. People I've spoken to have advised me that commuting makes it difficult to form friends. Is this true, because I don't want my time at uni to be lonely?

Hi there,

I'm not a commuter student myself, but a lot of my friends that I made on my course are! I understand your concerns as they are quite common worried with commuting to uni but try not to worry too much.

I was actually quite surprised at how many people on my course commuted to Uni! It's a lot more common than you would think and there will be lots of other people who are doing it too so you aren't alone. I think one thing with commuting is that sometimes you have to be willing to be the one to make plans sometimes or put in a bit more effort in first year. This is just because you won't have the automatic friends that people get with their flatmates and it's harder to make plans for a spontaneous trip out somewhere so sometimes you just have to out a bit more effort in to plan this in advance!

I would say ask the people on your course if they want to go for food or a coffee after uni and then ask if they'd want to go to the library together or anything really! In first year especially, everyone just wants to make friends so it's likely people will be up for doing things you just have to have the confidence to ask!

Also, joining a society is great. I know It's a bit trickier as you have to travel for it but it's really worth it if you want to do it and you will make friends this way too! Usually there are sessions once a week if it is fairly chilled and then maybe a social but for some more intense ones like sports competition teams it can be more than this so try and find out about this before you commit to anything!

I hope this helps and good luck at uni!

Lucy -SHU student ambassador
Reply 8
Original post by hallamstudents
Hi there,
I'm not a commuter student myself, but a lot of my friends that I made on my course are! I understand your concerns as they are quite common worried with commuting to uni but try not to worry too much.
I was actually quite surprised at how many people on my course commuted to Uni! It's a lot more common than you would think and there will be lots of other people who are doing it too so you aren't alone. I think one thing with commuting is that sometimes you have to be willing to be the one to make plans sometimes or put in a bit more effort in first year. This is just because you won't have the automatic friends that people get with their flatmates and it's harder to make plans for a spontaneous trip out somewhere so sometimes you just have to out a bit more effort in to plan this in advance!
I would say ask the people on your course if they want to go for food or a coffee after uni and then ask if they'd want to go to the library together or anything really! In first year especially, everyone just wants to make friends so it's likely people will be up for doing things you just have to have the confidence to ask!
Also, joining a society is great. I know It's a bit trickier as you have to travel for it but it's really worth it if you want to do it and you will make friends this way too! Usually there are sessions once a week if it is fairly chilled and then maybe a social but for some more intense ones like sports competition teams it can be more than this so try and find out about this before you commit to anything!
I hope this helps and good luck at uni!
Lucy -SHU student ambassador

Hi thanks for this, it's very reassuring.
I think it might be harder I stayed in halls. The thing with staying in accommodation is that the university and/or city is right there or at least easily accessible for instance herts has a train station that goes from the university (yes it’s on campus) straight into the centre of London at Southampton you get a free bus pass (although it’s totally walkable in to Southampton form some of the halls some places have a 24 hour safety bus to get you to and from halls if it’s a little way. Also things like the library are right there if you need it along with all the other amenities university affords you.

Socially halls also help a commuter will need to plan at a minimum 24 hours before a night out things at uni are organised a number of hours or even minutes before hand so any thing spur of the moment you will miss out on.
Original post by jonathanemptage
I think it might be harder I stayed in halls. The thing with staying in accommodation is that the university and/or city is right there or at least easily accessible for instance herts has a train station that goes from the university (yes it’s on campus) straight into the centre of London at Southampton you get a free bus pass (although it’s totally walkable in to Southampton form some of the halls some places have a 24 hour safety bus to get you to and from halls if it’s a little way. Also things like the library are right there if you need it along with all the other amenities university affords you.
Socially halls also help a commuter will need to plan at a minimum 24 hours before a night out things at uni are organised a number of hours or even minutes before hand so any thing spur of the moment you will miss out on.


Completely depends on commuting time, many commuters choose to commute because they live 10-20 mins away. As soon as you finish first year and people start living in housing anyway it makes hardly any difference in terms of nights out, as long as you have good enough friends to sleep at theirs after drinking.
People who live in halls have their own pros and cons, doesn’t mean it will necessarily be harder, might require a little more effort but thats not difficult
Original post by Autumn223
Completely depends on commuting time, many commuters choose to commute because they live 10-20 mins away. As soon as you finish first year and people start living in housing anyway it makes hardly any difference in terms of nights out, as long as you have good enough friends to sleep at theirs after drinking.
People who live in halls have their own pros and cons, doesn’t mean it will necessarily be harder, might require a little more effort but thats not difficult

My commuting time would be anywhere from 40 mins to an hour (depending on the trains).
I also don't drink and I'm not interested in nights out. I'm an introvert.
Original post by RLSIO23
My commuting time would be anywhere from 40 mins to an hour (depending on the trains).
I also don't drink and I'm not interested in nights out. I'm an introvert.


40 minutes isn’t so bad, and you might be an introvert but University can be quite isolating so it is important to make some connections through your course/societies or social events. I promise having a good support network at Uni makes all the difference when things get stressful
Original post by Autumn223
40 minutes isn’t so bad, and you might be an introvert but University can be quite isolating so it is important to make some connections through your course/societies or social events. I promise having a good support network at Uni makes all the difference when things get stressful

Yes I completely understand. I'm not planning on isolating myself, I just don't feel comfortable going to nightclubs/bars or anything like that. Networking and making connections is part of the reason I applied to go to uni.
Original post by RLSIO23
Yes I completely understand. I'm not planning on isolating myself, I just don't feel comfortable going to nightclubs/bars or anything like that. Networking and making connections is part of the reason I applied to go to uni.


Yeah i mean you definitely don’t have to! Quite a large amount of people at Uni don’t drink too, I have friends who prefer activities such as coffees and walks and others who prefer bar crawls and clubs. Uni is what you make of it :smile:
Reply 15
Original post by Autumn223
Hello!
I’m a commuter actually! Any questions you want to ask me go ahead :smile:
Id like to clarify that a common misconception is commuters don’t make friends, I have so many great Uni friends, the one thing i would say it takes more effort in first year.
Ive found since all my friends live in different houses across the city now their walk is the same time if not longer than my drive.
I remember using the student room to ask for advice about commuting and i remember getting some lovely messages, but also a few very cruel ones. No one should feel shame if they are commuting, especially if its the right choice for them.
For me it was and still is a matter of family illness, a lot of my friends prioritised moving out, but my family needed me more than ever when i started University, so i made the decision to commute.
If i go out at night i tend to just sleep at my friends, they don’t mind :smile:


Its so nice to hear something positive about commuting! Im starting uni in September and im commuting from the very start (half an hour by train) as its just the right fit for me and my needs (and still turns out to be cheaper than sussex accomodation which is sad haha) and ive been absolutely petrified about making friends. Im pretty outgoing and i like to have a few really good friends rather than a lot of people i only go out occasionally with. Any tips on meeting people during freshers? Im planning on joining societies and spending as much time on campus that week as possible to meet people! Anything else you recommend i do?
Original post by Gabbiey
Its so nice to hear something positive about commuting! Im starting uni in September and im commuting from the very start (half an hour by train) as its just the right fit for me and my needs (and still turns out to be cheaper than sussex accomodation which is sad haha) and ive been absolutely petrified about making friends. Im pretty outgoing and i like to have a few really good friends rather than a lot of people i only go out occasionally with. Any tips on meeting people during freshers? Im planning on joining societies and spending as much time on campus that week as possible to meet people! Anything else you recommend i do?


Hey! Honest best advice on freshers is throw yourself in there! Go to all the fayres and events that you can. For me I hadn’t met anyone to go to them with yet so i messaged my course groupchat and found a group that were in a similar boat, a few of them are still really close friends now. For first year i also booked a hotel room closer for a few nights over freshers to go to some of the events. But the closest friends ive made have been through my coursemates, societies and campus job :smile:
If you are an outgoing sort of person you will definitely meet people!
Reply 17
Original post by Autumn223
Hey! Honest best advice on freshers is throw yourself in there! Go to all the fayres and events that you can. For me I hadn’t met anyone to go to them with yet so i messaged my course groupchat and found a group that were in a similar boat, a few of them are still really close friends now. For first year i also booked a hotel room closer for a few nights over freshers to go to some of the events. But the closest friends ive made have been through my coursemates, societies and campus job :smile:
If you are an outgoing sort of person you will definitely meet people!


Thats super helpful thank you! Will definitely consider the hotel room idea, whilst i dont love clubbing its something to try out at freshers. Thanks so much for the help x
Original post by Gabbiey
Thats super helpful thank you! Will definitely consider the hotel room idea, whilst i dont love clubbing its something to try out at freshers. Thanks so much for the help x


Yeah can’t lie I’m not a big clubber either, it was good for the experience for sure, but I’m in third year now and the amount everyone goes clubbing has really died down. Your uni should offer some good non clubbing events over freshers though might be worth giving them a try too :smile:
Original post by Anonymous #1
I've applied to uni and intend on commuting because it's cheaper and works out better for me but my concern is that I won't be able to make friends. People I've spoken to have advised me that commuting makes it difficult to form friends. Is this true, because I don't want my time at uni to be lonely?

Hi there,

I started commuting in the November of my first year once we went back into lockdown in 2020. I hadn't really formed many true friendships before then and I actually found my main current friendship group. I definitely don't think that commuting causes a major problem in making friends.
I think in my opinion the best way to make sure you still meet plenty of people is to make sure you go to social events still and still join societies you will meet people who are similar to you.

I hope this helps,

Ellen
Y4 Medical Student
Uni of Sunderland

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