When I started at Middlesex University in September 2017, one of the things that made me most nervous was the fact that I was not going to be living the typical student life. I wasn’t staying in dorms or any form of student accommodation. Instead, I decided to stay living with my parents and commute into university each day.
As the Freshers events approached, I started to worry more and more about turning up alone to the parties and meetings, and how well I’d do at introducing myself without anyone I knew around me.
Other students, I felt, had an advantage in that they had roommates to accompany them to these events. I had no one.
However, in the weeks leading up to the start of University, and even within the first few months, I found many ways to overcome the hurdles faced by students that commute. So here I am, passing on what I’ve learnt to other students who might feel the way I did a few months ago.
One of the first things I did was to join the many MDX Facebook groups available.
This opened up a variety of opportunities I would never have even known about! From the general groups for all students such as Middlesex Students’ Union and MDX Open, to the more targeted groups such as MDXSU Commuter Students, MDXSU Post Grad Students, MDXSU Parent and Carer Students, MDXSU International Students and a Freshers' group page for every year - there's something for everyone.
On these pages, you can find other people on your course and those with similar interests, as well as many smaller events and meetings that you can join to get to know people around campus.
Before the first Freshers event I went to, I used the Middlesex University Freshers 2017/18 page to find other students who were attending the events alone, and we decided to meet beforehand and go as a collective rather than face the fear of turning up to the first party alone. The night turned out to be amazing and we're now great friends!
Freshers Fair, and the subsequent Refreshers Fair, both give students a wonderful opportunity to see the array of societies available for students to join around campus. You can also check out the full list of societies online. Societies are a great way to meet like-minded people who share your interests, or to find new interests and make new friends at the same time. Some of the people I am now closest with at university are the ones I’ve met through the societies I’ve joined.
My final piece of advice for commuter students, or really any student wanting to get more involved than they currently are in uni life, is to actively follow the university and society social media accounts. The Facebook pages are just the start, but you can also find out about so many events, activities and exciting opportunities by following their other platforms. A great place to start is the Middlesex University Students’ Union Instagram and Twitter accounts where they regularly post updates on what’s happening around campus.
Lastly, I want to leave you with some food for thought, a wonderful quote by the inspirational Marilyn Monroe, who once said – “We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets.”
Do not be afraid to make an active step towards getting involved! It may seem more difficult for students not living in campus accommodation, but it is in no way impossible, and it is most certainly rewarding.