A Q&A session live from our City Centre Campus with a group of students taking your questions about the social side of BCU, and life as a student in Birmingham.
This session was recorded in March 2021Watch the session on student life
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Student life panel
Commuting to uni panel
[00:00:03] So hello everyone and thank you very much for joining us and welcome to our commuter Q&A session, I'm Caitlin Neal, I'm a second year criminology and security studies student and I'm going to be hosting the session. Today we'll be covering a variety of useful tips on commuting to university. I'm joined by several lovely panel members. So let's go around the room for some introductions, starting with Joanna, please.
[00:00:25] Yeah. Hi, everybody. My name is Joanna
[00:00:32] For my first two years, I lived in Birmingham and I commuted to university through walking.
[00:00:38] And in my third year I live back in my hometown and I drive to uni and catch a train . Thank you very much, Joanna. And please, Kate.
[00:00:47] Hi, everyone. I'm a second year student on the BA Applied Theatre Community and Education course and I commute to uni by the bus every day.
[00:00:58] Thank you. So we wanted to get the session together on creating, as a lot of BCU students do so and there's a large proportion of people that take a variety of different transports. So as Joanna mentioned, she originally lived in Birmingham for her first three years at university, but now she commutes by train and by car. So, Joanna, do you mind telling us a little bit more about this?
[00:01:17] Yes. So I'll catch the train to Birmingham New Street most days. And because that station is not very close to City South campus, I then take another train into five ways. And from five ways it's like a 10 like 15 minute walk to campus, which is not that far for me. However, if you do go to the city centre campus, you don't have to take the train to five ways. You can just stop off at New Street and it's another 10, 15 minute walk. And I know that some of the train stations like Snow Hill and More Street, and they seem very far. I've not caught any trains into Moor Street or Snow Hill, but they're not too far. And then when I drive into uni, I normally park close by uni sidestreets, making sure that I can stay there for the full day. However, there are car parking spaces near uni but there are two hour restrictions there so you just have to be careful when parking. But yes, through commuting by the train, there are some benefits because I can revise on the train or pre read on the train, which is helpful, it like stimulates my mind before uni. And then when I'm driving, obviously I'm saving money by not staying in Birmingham. I'm staying at home. So, yeah, that's useful. It has its pros and cons.
[00:02:44] Yes. Very helpful if you're a student to dave money. So I thank you very much, Joanna. And now Kate, you mentioned you get the bus to University every day and would you mind giving us a quick overview of commute?
[00:02:55] So I live in Balsall Heath, which is kind of just outside the city centre. So it takes me about twenty five minutes to half an hour to get into university. So I usually get the thirty five bus and I have to do a bit of a walk from the bus stop into Millenium Point and that's where I'm based. And, but it's super easy as sometimes the buses can be a bit hit and miss but they usually pretty good and of course the Birmingham is such a big city, the bus services and public transport, that's really good. So if you're based at City South or another campus, it's really easy to get the bus in and the network's so big. So you never really have a problem managing to get a bus.
[00:03:39] Yeah, Birmingham's notorious for its transport links isn't it. So thank you, panel members to all that helpful information. And just to note, more information for our commuting can be found on the BCU website and definitely lots of other information about the university. Please have a look at that. So now it's all going to go into more of a generic Q&A of questions that are commonly asked by students before they arrive at BCU. And the first one would be, Where can I go for support for commuting into university? So Joanna if you're OK to start with that.
[00:04:21] The transport team at the university as well, they can LINK you with good transport links.
[00:04:28] Thank you very much. And Kate,do you have anything to add?
[00:04:32] I think Joanna said it. I Remember during fresher's that was a lot of help and ways to go around and talk to people if you needed advice and stuff on saving money and getting passes and different things like that.
[00:04:46] Yes, so I'll come to you with what can I do to save money when commuting?
[00:04:52] So there's lots of stuff available I know for me and I pay monthly for my bus pass just because it works out so much cheaper than spending money every day, buying bus passes or even weekly. So I pay about 40 pounds a month, I think, on like unlimited bus travel. It's so much easier for me because you once you have that card, you don't have to worry about, like buying tickets every day and and you do end up saving a lot of money. So that's what I do anyway.
[00:05:30] And I know there's lots of other and possible services that you can get to get reduced tickets and stuff as a student.
[00:05:38] Yeah it's definitely worth checking your options online.
[00:05:40] And there is more information on the BBC Web site. So Joanna useful apps, any such information do you use to help you commute?
[00:05:52] So when I take the train I use the National Rail Service website and I can just find my tickets easily.
[00:05:59] I can either print them out in the station or have them on my phone, which is very useful for me. And then when I'm driving, I just use driving apps such as Waze, which is very simple to use, or Google Maps.
[00:06:15] Thank you very much. And Kate, what do you think are thye top benefits of commuting?
[00:06:21] I really like having a bit of space between kind of university and where I live, I think it kind of helps you get out of the student bubble a bit, because sometimes when you're living in student accommodation, you're very much in that world all of the time.
[00:06:37] It's hard to separate university life. I think the actual physical travelling away from the city centre and from your campus or wherever you are. And it kind of helps, helps me mentally just to sort of decompress and have that time to. Yeah, to to study outside of the university environment.
[00:06:58] OK, thank you very much. Joanna do you have anything to add?
[00:07:02] Yeah, like I've already said, by commuting from home, it means I'm saving a lot of money and also I get to spend more time with my family as well, especially during this time we're in. And it's nice to be at home..
[00:07:18] Thank you. And finally, can you please share your top tips for commuting to university Joanna?
[00:07:23] So I'd definitely say you need to be organised. I definitely try to book my tickets in advance just to make sure I'm not spending ridiculous amounts of money. And also planning my driving routes as well as Birmingham can be a bit busy. You want to know the best time to travel into uni. Try not to get into traffic as well. So be organised.
[00:07:49] And Kate do you have anything to add?
[00:07:51] I think definitely be organised, just allow yourself extra time, I think having a bit of extra time is always helpful. So if you forget anything or if something goes wrong, you don't have to, like, panic about not being there on time. And I think, you know, use your time kind of travelling to and from university to like prepare or and to just kind of decompress from the days when you're coming back. I think it kind of sets you up, it gives you a bit more time just to set your mind up for the day as well, which is really cool. And I also would say try to travel, especially on the bus and stuff, try to travel as light as possible. Don't bring too much heavy stuff with you because it's really awkward. I know there's been a few times where I've had to bring a yoga mat in and it's always like this sort of like juggling. So try and travel as light as you can because it just makes your life a lot easier.
[00:08:43] Thank you very much, both of you,they were the generic questions, everybody seems to ask, we are sort of going to move on to uni myth busters now. So as commuting, you know, more than anyone the reservations about commuting before you go, are you going to miss out on student opportunities? So we're sort of going to get your point of view. What, do you think it had an impact commuting? And so Kate if you're happy to start, is it hard making friends with people who already know each other as they live in halls and you are commuting in?
[00:09:19] I think in terms of like people who are on your course, I think everyone's in a different situation. You know, not everyone's in halls. There's other people who commute as well. You're not like the only person who commutes in. And so those are the people who can kind of identify and understand that you are in the same situation. And I think everyone wants to get to know as much as many people as possible. So it's not like, you know, I know these people and I am not going to talk to anyone else. I also think everyone's very open to meeting new people and making friends, especially people who are having different experiences. And again, so they can get outside of their bubble. It's nice to meet other people who have different kinds of experiences.
[00:10:07] Thank you very much, it's very true, you do need people with completely different experiences. So Joanna, have you ever been late to university because you're a commuter?
[00:10:17] Yes, I actually have in the past. But when I do arrive late, it's time to apologise to the lecturer, you know, and just say what the reason was. But I try to leave in enough time just to prevent being late because it's like sometimes a distraction to everyone else who's there. But yes, I have been late before.
[00:10:38] I think everyone's been late. Even if they aren't a commuter, it's definitely a first thing as well! So these questions are a bit tentative at the moment Kate, but how do you go on a night out whilst being a commuter?
[00:10:52] I think you don't have to miss out on that experience. I mean, obviously right now it's a bit tricky to navigate and I think you can kind of plan ahead if you want to have a night out with friends and stuff and you could potentially stay with friends and also, depending on how far you have to travel, you could kind of plan it so you're not travelling to it and stuff. And then you can meet up with friends and get ready there and things before you go out. It's definitely possible still to have nice nights out and have a nice time and stuff I would say.
[00:11:31] And hopefully by the time everyone comes next year we'll have a bit more energy back. And the last myth is, is it really expensive, which I think both of you have covered? Obviously explore your options before you go, as a student you want to save the most money.Do either of you have anything to add?
[00:11:48] I think just kind of shop around and make sure you know how to save money and stuff and, you're not kind of
[00:11:58] Spending unnecessary money and things, but that's just a general thing.
[00:12:07] So thank you. That brings us to the end of the session. Thank you very much for joining us. And we hope you found this commuter video useful. If you have any more questions, please take a look at the BCU website or feel free to email. So, yeah, take care and goodbye everyone. Bye!