After nearly two years of commuting to the University of Essex, I know a few tips that I hope are helpful to students who either already commute, or are considering it.
I would highly recommend investing in a bus pass. They are around £160 for the whole year and cover the whole of Colchester and can get you to Wivenhoe. I travel on the bus every day and so would spend £160 on bus fare in around two and half months, so spending this for the whole year is a massive help for me financially.
If you live too far from University to get the bus, or just prefer to drive, it’s a great idea to get a car parking permit. There are two main types, the most comment is a ‘season ticket’, it costs £107 which includes an administration charge. This is all you need in order to park in the student car parks on campus. The other option is a general pass, it costs £23 as an administration fee and then 10p per hour, or 70p per day. This is a great option if you don’t need to come to University every day. Both tickets allow parking in any campus car park (excluding Edge Hotel School, Valley Road and North Towers barrier controlled parking and spaces marked ‘Visitor Pay and Display’).
Whether you get the bus or you drive, leave plenty of time for any unexpected delays, like your bus not turning up, or not being able to find a parking space! I always bring a pair of headphones along with me to help the journey go a bit more quickly. Reading a book on your journey is also a great idea, especially if you have some reading to do for lectures (I mean on the bus, please do not read and drive!)
When you live off campus, you can’t just nip home and make yourself some lunch. Try and bring food in for yourself in a lunch box, it saves you a lot of money in the long run and also saves time going to the shop. If you do fancy hot food or a drink, then the Kitchen is great. The drinks are really cheap, all around £1.10 – £1.30 and their paninis and wraps are delicious.
If you live far from campus, you probably won’t go home in breaks between your lectures. I try and use these breaks to study so I have less to do when I get home from University. I would recommend checking out the Silberrad centre, it’s become my new favourite place to study. It’s modern inside, has a beautiful view of the lake and is great for group work.
As a general note, I would really recommend using a rucksack for University. You may not need to bring much in, but when you have to take two textbooks home to do reading your shoulders will thank you!