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School of Geography

Keeping boredom at bay during commutes

I commute to university every day. I don’t mean I commute as in ‘oh, I live just two stops down on the central line’. I mean it as in ‘I leave my house two hours before class because I have to get a bus, the overground and then the underground to get to university’. If your commute is only 15 minutes long then it’s unlikely you are going to suffer from extreme boredom during your journey. If it is over an hour, then I feel your pain.

So, how do you make your commute feel less like a complete waste of time? These are my top tips.

You could work while you travel. The last thing you probably want to do after a day of studying is working on the train/bus/tube journey home. However, I guarantee that no matter how productive you feel at university, by the time you get in all you are going to want to do is relax. As a lot of study for your degree is self-led, working whilst travelling can free up your time later.

There are multiple ways you can study during your journey.

  1. You could complete academic reading. For all your first year modules you will receive a pretty long reading list. Trust me, you don’t have to read everything on the list but the more you read the easier your coursework and exams will be.
  2. You could re-listen to lectures (or catch up on lectures you have missed). Most first-year lectures are recorded via the Q-Review system. You can download these recordings as audio files and listen to them on your phone. ‘Viewing’ a lecture a second time has its benefits. For example, you are likely to better understand the concepts discussed and pick up pieces of information (and hints for the exams) that you may have previously missed.
  3. You could review your lecture notes from that day. Studies show that students forget approximately 60% of lecture content up to nine hours after the lecture occurred, unless they review their notes shortly afterwards. In the long run, you might be doing yourself a massive favour!

Ok, now I know some of you are probably thinking ‘but if I’ve been studying all day I’m going to need a break’. Yes, you do. I don’t study on every journey into university and rarely for the whole two hours. Personally, when I’m travelling and I don’t want to study I listen to audio books. If you have never tried an audio book, I would highly recommend it; I’ve grown to love them over the past year. If you’re not into books then there are a ton of apps that allow you to download TV shows to your phone for you to watch during your journey!

Bethany Harris (Geography BA, class of 2018)

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