All the things you’ll learn as a commuter

You’ll have permanent FOMO

I am a commuter, and one that lives far away at home too. Straight off the bat, that situation and your typical ‘uni experience’ don’t seem like the most compatible ideas ever, especially if you live on the edge of this world – Zone 6.

Before I started the oh so glorious days of university, even thinking about it raised my blood pressure. FOMO doesn’t play about. I’ve been through it now, though; I’ve come out alive and here, fellow home-stayers, far-away-land-inhabitants and general nosy people, is what I’ve learnt.

Get the most obnoxious alarm possible

You, sadly, don’t have the luxury of a 10-minute walk to uni. So, when it comes to getting up in the morning, be ruthless – you will try anything to not get up from that cosy bed, so your alarm needs to be Spartan. You will hate it. It will break you, but it will work.

Uber is your BFF at three in the morning, especially when the Night Tube doesn’t go to where you live

Bring something along for the ride

Your (charged) phone, most likely, although if you’re a literature student like me, books are still cool. Although don’t bring five novels because you think you can read them all.

Live in the bowels of Zone 6? Might as well live in Zimbabwe.

You’ve got a lot of time on your hands

Hey, it’s not all so bad. Long journeys can save you sometimes. Went to sleep too late and didn’t read the material you need for your lecture because you were being a responsible adult? Don’t worry, just read it all on the train. Put that hour to use.

Travel cards

The travel card will become your god, and an expensive one at that. It will let you get anywhere you want for a month, hassle-free, until the day when you must pay for it again. And no, it’s not a small amount. I’m looking at you, Zone 1-6 travel card. Unless you’re a trust fund baby, you’ll probably wanna get a job.

Bonus: learn how messy your friends are. Still love them.

Don’t leave the house without checking you have everything

Phone, Oyster, keys, the trinity. You don’t want to have a sudden realisation you don’t have something when you’re already at Stratford, and going back home would effectively mean missing everything that day.

Strikes will be your worst enemy

The days on which the tube/buses strike or there are severe delays, you will be truly tested and so will be your alternative planning skills. Have a different route of some sort on those occasions, which is easier said than done, I know.

You learn to forgive those who miss lectures

They have a 9am lecture and they live near the uni, but still don’t turn up for the lecture. For they do not know the real struggle.

You’ll eventually get over FOMO. Your situation is a lot more common than you may believe, and when you realise that FOMO romanticises things to an unreal degree, commuting and living at home won’t seem like you’re missing out on 500 things every day.