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Media School student Alice White talks about commuting to BU and how nothing will stop her enjoying the Bournemouth social scene…

Postgraduate study is no doubt hard work. When I committed to studying at Bournemouth University my mind was initially focused on sorting out the finances, books, and deciding which colour laptop protector would best match my boots.

But then I realised that I lived 30 miles away.

It was enough of a distance to potentially be an issue – both money and time are precious when studying an MA, and I wanted to save on both whenever possible. So I was faced with a quandary; move house (expensive) or commute (time and money inefficient).

I was conscious of missing out on the social scene – after all, uni is where you make those life-long friends and future work contacts – and I wanted to be more involved than during my hermit undergraduate years.

In the end I stayed living in Salisbury, and here’s what I did to overcome the distance between uni and the place I call home…

My first idea was to combine bike and bus travel, by cycling to and from the bus stops. Quarterly bus passes cost about £250 for the Dorset/Wiltshire area – a bargain compared to fuel. One impulsive eBay purchase later I was the kind-of-proud owner of a weird little fold-up bike that would slot nicely onto any bus.

“Perfect!” I thought, “I’ll lose weight AND save money.” That dream lasted all of two seconds until I realised that the bus took the best part of two hours, and I didn’t want to have that barrier between me and an impulsive social at Dylan’s.

So I plumped for driving. I signed up on Liftshare.com and quickly found someone who was willing to endure my driving and share the costs. I was also able to stay with a friend in Bournemouth one night per week, which also cuts down on the commute and allows me some time to socialize and study.

Finally, I threw myself into student life by becoming a student rep. Not only did I join the purple army with my FREE HOODIE, but I also became more involved in campus events and the running of the course. Being a rep totally counter-acted any worries I had about distance; I now feel closer and more involved with the university and my course mates than I ever did when I lived here for my BA.

Being a peripatetic student really doesn’t have to be a disadvantage – if anything, it has focused me. Get involved as much as you can and allow yourself as much flexibility as you can afford: You’ll never feel left out, no matter how far you might have to travel.