Life of a student commuter

A typical day in the life of a student who lives miles away from campus


Faced with the high costs of going to university, an increasing number of students seem to be living at home and commuting to campus.

This lifestyle certainly has its benefits; it’s cheaper and less stressful than having to fend for yourself and 100% cleaner.

However, the journey to and from university is definitely not easier, as you don’t have the luxury of being able to wake up and make it to the lecture room 15 minutes later. Organisation skills are a must, as well as ensuring you have enough free food stuffed in your bag.

Your early morning wake up call

Squeezing in a last bit of beauty sleep

6.30 It’s a Monday morning and my lecture isn’t until 9, yet still I’m getting up. Having to wake up two and a half hours early isn’t ideal, and the weekly internal debate always starts: ‘Do I get up and go, or shall I sack it all off, stay in bed and forget about university all together…’

6.46 The sane side of me loses the debate, and I’m dragging myself to the shower

7.31 Due to the ten minute argument I had with myself earlier, I am now late. This is when my mum comes in to offer a free lift down to the station: winner.

They see me rollin’…

The quest

Why are commuters always so miserable?

7.56 Time to select which carriage to get in. You learn which train carriages to avoid after a while, meaning you plan your positioning on the platform to perfection. DO NOT get on the carriage nearest the platform entrance, as it will be rammed and your chance of a seat will be nil. Too many times I’ve had to climb over disgruntled commuters who insist on sitting near the aisle on a six seater.

Wake me up when we get there

7.59 Got on the second to front carriage. Thankfully, there’s a seat available for me to collapse into. My brain has done too much work already, and most students are still fast asleep.

8.15 Just been reminded that to speak on a commuter train is ILLEGAL. Punishment for the crime is evil pissed off death stares from the rest of the carriage. How dare I be slightly more jovial than them at quarter past 8 in the morning!

Silence is golden

8.27 ‘The next station is Leeds’. Thank God, oxygen levels are dangerously low and the man next to me has terrible morning breath.

Trying to find a gate that works is harder than it should be

8.35 It took ten minutes just to get off the train and fight through the temperamental ticket barriers…

LEEDS! Now to figure out how to get to lectures.

8.42 Halfway through my ascent up Park Row, Google Maps assures me this walk to Leeds Met should take ten minutes. Unfortunately, it didn’t take into account the groups of office workers trundling  up Park Row or the overflowing crowds of people at the bus stops blocking the pavements. At least the sun has come out, though unfortunately I dressed for the weather I saw when I looked out of the window at home, which was almost sub-arctic.

8.46 Have a near miss with a beggar (they do start early). I once witnessed what seemed to be a turf war outside The Light. It was a harrowing ordeal, normal students don’t have this problem.


8.49 I have arrived! Pictured are the crowds of spectators congratulating me on my commitment to university.

University fun times

9.00-10.00 Since I’ve been up for nearly three hours I’m bright and breezy for this hour, but many of my course-mates are struggling to put sentences together.

One problem with getting up so early is I get peckish early

10.00-11.00 Thanks to the timetable fairies, I get a chance for a break, and a moderate quantity of food smuggled from home is eaten in the library.

11.00-12.00 Another lecture, and I’m still going strong.

Admittedly not the sexiest lunch…

12.00-13.00 Lunchtime. Many of my fellow course mates have gone back to their flats to devour Smart Price beans on toast, but I’m stuck here eating a squished cheese sandwich in the Student Union. Needless to say, the sense of comradeship has dampened somewhat.

13.00-15.00 Time for a seminar on a brain-numbing topic. To be fair, it could be any topic but it would still be brain-numbing as the early wake up has started to take its toll.

15.00-16.00 Another fantastic space of free time that the timetable fairies have awarded me. However, I have now started to become delirious from a mixture of sugar and reaching the limit of my brain function.

Not far off needing matchsticks to keep my eyelids propped open

16.00-17.00 The last lecture of the day. I am trying my best to sleep but everytime my head falls forwards I’m rudely awakened. Unfortunately my wobbly movements have gained the attention of my lecturer, so I’ve now opted for the ‘eye wide open’ look. In response, my face has started twitching.

The return

17.01 DONE. A full day at university is crossed off and my conscience is clear. I do deserve the ‘taxpayers’ money’ after all.

17.10 Got to the station early and secured a seat: bliss.

Reading over the shoulder of strangers: always a fun game

17.35 The woman sat next to me is reading the latest Jeffery Archer novel, so I’m reading it over her shoulder while pretending to scroll through Twitter. Hope she turns the page soon, it’s gripping.

18.55 Arrived back in the home-town I can’t seem to escape. After much complaining, my mum gives in and offers me a lift home.

Get in. Dump everything. Collapse.

19.15 Finally home after 12 hours, while everyone else on my course was back at their flat an hour and a half ago. Sausage and mash for tea though and all my washing is done, so swings and roundabouts.