Hi, I’m Bethan, a third-year Sociology student. Despite the pressure to take the conventional route and move away for university, I didn’t feel ready to leave home just yet – so I decided to stay living at home and commute. Whilst initially I worried about making friends and feeling included, I’m so glad I made the decision I did. Here are my top tips for getting the most out of university as a commuting student!
One of the best ways to meet people at university is to join societies and clubs. Societies host regular events where you can meet new people who you share common interests with, so you’re likely to get along. They’re also a chance to meet people from outside your degree subject, giving you a break from academics!
Personally, I’m part of the Cocktail and Sociology societies. I’ve attended a range of events, including quizzes, mixologies, movie nights and bar crawls. There are over 200 societies at York, so there’s bound to be something for you. And if not, you can start your own society!
University support for commuting students
I wish I’d known before starting uni just how much support the University provides to help commuting students get involved. The University organises events specifically for students living at home to give you the opportunity to meet others in the same position. In my first year, I attended a guided group tour of the campus which gave me lots of useful information about places to go. I also went to coffee mornings and an escape room, where I met people I am still good friends with now.
My biggest piece of advice for any event is not to be afraid of going alone! I attended almost every event on my own, and I always ended up talking to new people and enjoying myself. Everyone is looking to make new friends, especially other commuting students. With this in mind, don’t be nervous about putting yourself out there or starting a conversation. I’m sure that you will both be grateful that you did!
Another great opportunity York offers is the Student Connect scheme, which is how I met one of my best friends. You simply complete a form telling them about yourself, your interests, and the type of person you are looking to meet, and they match you with other compatible students. The University then sends you their contact details, so you can begin chatting, as well as ideas for activities you could do together. Knowing that your match is also actively looking for new friends can make it less daunting when starting a conversation or planning to meet up.
Social media is a super convenient way for you to meet new people and find out about events. Make sure you join all the Facebook groups and group chats available, especially the commuting students group. This is a great way to get to know people and ensure you don’t miss out on something you are interested in. There are group chats for societies, sports clubs, colleges, course groups and much more! The notifications can be intense, but this really is the best way to keep up to date with university life.
Instagram can also be useful for finding new people. Students often look for other people at the same university to follow, so I’d suggest putting your university name in your Instagram bio. For instance, if I saw someone else who studies at York, and it looked like we had similar interests, I would message them and introduce myself. I ended up making lots of great friends this way, so don’t be scared to message people first, so many people have told me how glad they are that I reached out.
If you take anything from this post, it’s that you shouldn’t feel restricted by living at home or worry about meeting people. There are so many opportunities and things to get involved in at York! The best thing to help integrate yourself into university life is to just say yes. There are more people than you think in the same position as you, and people are always looking to make friends outside their household. By putting yourself out there, you can meet some amazing people and have the best university experience.
Hopefully I’ve shown you that you don’t need to live at/near university to have a great time! – Bethan