Living at home – Safia Khan

Safia talks about her experience living at home in Bury, Greater Manchester, while studying for BSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology at the University.

I first started commuting to The University of Manchester as a Manchester Access Programme (MAP) student in college, so I gradually became familiar with the routes and modes of transport.

MAP aided me greatly in being accepted to attend university. I also gained a lot of confidence and it helped me to feel prepared for starting university. During MAP, I learnt how to research and reference, network and how to manage my time and be organised; this knowledge has been invaluable as a university student. 

What’s the best thing about being a commuter student?

Safia Khan

The best thing about commuting is that you can use it to your advantage and be productive. For example, I often check and reply to my emails or do some reading during my commute. Also, I weirdly enjoy the commute before going to campus for exams as it gives me the time to fully wake up and get into the right mindset.

Being a commuter student helps you to quickly become familiar with the campus and the surrounding areas as well as the transport that is available. It’s a great opportunity to socialise and meet other commuter students, especially via the Commuter Hub where commuter students can access support, travel information and find out about any great opportunities or events coming up.

Are there any downsides to being a commuter student?

Commuting costs money and is an expense you have to factor into your budget. However, there are great student travel deals available so do look into these. System One Travel is a great place to search if you're commuting to campus from within Greater Manchester.

Commuting can possibly be a cause for stress and anxiety if you're running late, services are delayed, or it is crowded. I would advise that you plan your journey beforehand and make use of timetables as well as to check for any notices. Also, it may be a good idea to practise your route and other possible routes before starting so that you're confident and have an alternative route if required. 

What can students expect from their first couple of weeks?

You'll have the opportunity to take part in a variety of compulsory and optional Welcome Week activities. There are also many events and socials held during Welcome Week where you can network with others, find opportunities and support services. You should also have a campus tour and be able to familiarise yourself with the buildings as well as the facilities available to you. The first couple of weeks involves meeting your Programme Director, Academic Advisor and other students on your course. You'll receive your schedule and begin to work out your day and routine around this. 

What were you most worried about before starting university?

I was most worried about meeting new people and making friends. I have learnt that everyone is in the same boat and also probably just as anxious. While you can make great friends on your course, there are also many opportunities to meet new people and to make friends outside of it. Being open to experiences and proactive in interacting with others really helps. Joining a society, getting a campus job or volunteering are all great ways to gain skills and to meet like-minded individuals.

What did you find the hardest thing to adjust to about university life and how did you overcome this?

I found lectures and making lecture notes the hardest thing to adjust to. It was different to my previous experiences of teaching and it can be a challenge to work out how to make the most of lectures. I struggled to find what was the best way to make lecture notes but I slowly realised that there is no right way, only the way that works best for you. Figuring this out is part of the process so it is okay to experiment and there is no need to stress about falling behind or comparing yourself to others as long as you're actively working out a solution for yourself.