When I first told my family and friends that I had been accepted to Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, the common response I received was ‘You’re going to go far!’ At first I thought they were speaking figuratively but I soon came to realise that ‘going far’ was going to become part of my daily routine.
For the moment I still live in jolly Essex and commute to the Park and Ride in Babraham, about 20 minutes’ bus journey away from the Grafton Centre in the centre of Cambridge. Then it’s a short walk down East Street towards the ‘spire of destiny’ as it’s become known, and you have arrived at the university.
I only mention this for two reasons. Firstly I want you all to know the hardships I have to endure on an almost daily basis to get to Cambridge; and secondly, to let you know how easy it is to commute to uni!
So, if you’re worried about having to commute to the city, don’t be. Use one of best devices ever introduced to city driving: the Cambridgeshire Park and Ride system. Parking isn’t free, but it’s cheap – £1 gets you 18 hours plus it’s £2.70 for your return ticket. Although the car parks don’t have security, they are well lit, so, unless you intend to leave your car there overnight you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Thousands of people park there daily and buses run until around 8.15 in the evening from Grafton back to the Park and Ride.
There are five park and rides around Cambridge, so do your research. All but one of them stops at the Grafton Centre. Go to www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk
to find out more. And this concludes my brief stint as the Stagecoach sales manager!
As I write this I am in week 2 of my first year (previously being a Year 0 student) and so far life as a student at Anglia Ruskin has been everything I thought it would be: challenging, accepting, and fun!
Being a mature student at the tender age of 32 (yes, I know I don’t look it) I was worried about returning to full-time education, especially after being out of the system for so long. But thanks to the foundation year of the degree I can feel a little more relaxed about it, which helped me brush up on certain areas. Don’t get me wrong, you have to work hard. The university gives you the tools and resources to learn, but you have to be the one to make sure you use them. The tutors are there to help but it’s not like school. You need to go away, research, and study off your own back.
I found that the best way to do this is to make friends. That may sound obvious, but every day I see people sitting on their own in lectures and then looking lost during breaks and study periods. I arrived at uni on my own and I decided that I didn’t want to spend the time alone, so I just started talking to people. Some were happy to talk and others weren’t, but the more people you get to know, the more people you can network with, discuss the lectures with, and collaborate on projects with (without colluding, of course!). And – most importantly – there will be more people you can have a laugh with.