Commuting to Placements and Uni during training

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Pixie
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Commuting to Placements and Uni during training

Post by Pixie » Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:49 pm

I am thrilled to have been offered a place but I am trying to work out if long commutes are going to be manageable. I am not in a position to move house and will have a 90 minute drive to the university base (it takes 2.5hrs on the train) and potentially significantly longer commutes to placement (which cover a really wide geographical area). I am aware that accommodation may be provided for placements that are far away but am likely to encounter long commutes during training.

I have searched the wiki and have found previous comments about commuting to work but I am really keen to hear from those who have managed/endured long commutes during training. Is it do-able for 3 years or does it really take its toll? Any tips for making it manageable or any pointers on what I should think about?

Any insight or sharing of commuting experiences would be gratefully received!

Pixie

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sarahg
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Re: Commuting to Placements and Uni during training

Post by sarahg » Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:13 pm

Could you possibly do a short-term house share near the base? Even if its just a few times a week?
Also look at cost of staying in a hotel a night occasionally vs. driving

I currently have a 55min commute to work. Anything over an hour really gets to me. But I know people on here who commute far further. I personally couldn't hack spend 3-hours of my day commuting, especially in the car.

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BlueCat
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Re: Commuting to Placements and Uni during training

Post by BlueCat » Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:22 pm

I can speak as a veteran of ridiculous commutes. I think most things are manageable when you've got an end point in sight and a goal. However, don't underestimate how much travelling will take it out of you - it is tiring. A long commute and a demanding job (and training is VERY demanding) leaves you with very little energy/time/mojo for the rest of your commitments. After a mammoth commute, you'll likely arrive home ready to curl up and veg out, rather than crack on with your reading/essays/case reports.

I guess some of my tips would be: use public transport if possible (even if it takes longer, it isn't as draining, unless there's many many changes or its a particularly overcrowded route; and you can do your reading/makeup/sleep); stay over once or twice midweek if you can. Re: the public transport thing - a longer commute might actually be a blessing in disguise (yes, I'm an eternal optimist). I find it really easy to work on trains - I'm in my own bubble and can really concentrate. You'd arrive home having done 2.5 hours worth of work (or sleep, or reading for pleasure) and can crack on with your evening rather than arriving home after a long drive and STILL needing to do work. You could look at it as 2.5 hours invested, rather than wasted, as a drive would be?

My last job was 1.5 hours each way, and it was a bit of a killer (I only worked three days a week). Not something I'd recommend for a balanced life, but manageable, barely. I was in that role for three and a half years. I now have a 35 minute commute and its like being on permanent holiday - all the extra time I have!

I guess other things to think about are how often you'll have a full week. Many courses only have teaching days during term times, so during academic holidays you'd only need to travel on placement days. Many courses also have a half day placement study day (which most trainees tend to take as a day a fortnight, on a Friday, natch). This could mean that you have some two day and some three day weeks (placement travel) during academic holiday times (quite a lot at a University - month off at easter, month off at christmas, three months off over summer) and some four and five day weeks during term times. Manageable, I would say (but bear in mind I've "managed" many stupid commutes, and don't enjoy them), but not fun. Check with your course what their timetable looks like in term and holiday times, and what their holiday times look like. I "managed" to train at Surrey whilst living in South Wales (drove up start of the week, stayed with family midweek, travelled home end of week).
There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Billy Connolly.

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enid
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Re: Commuting to Placements and Uni during training

Post by enid » Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:27 pm

I am currently doing a 1.5 hour drive for placement. I haven't tried it via train yet but it is an option. And it is tiring. But it is also manageable (so far). I only go in three days a week, as can work from another base (closer) or work from home, and my supervisor is very aware of the commute and really takes it in to consideration when we plan my diary. Sometimes yes I get in from work and have absolutely no energy whatsoever for anything else, but other times I am able to go out to meet friends, and other commitments. Plenty of sleep is imperative, and time off and down time. I am lucky with the fact that I am 10m walk from uni - if I had to commute there too I think it would be too much (for me anyway). We get 8 week teaching blocks at beginning of the year, which breaks the year up.

Also, I guess route/traffic might be an issue? I find if I drive in rush hour traffic I get exhausted, whereas my current commute is incredibly beautiful country roads, with very little traffic (the way I go). It's still really tiring though as the roads are very winding, and I am a new driver.

I'm not one to work during the evenings anyway as I have a number of other important commitments in the evenings during the week, I think it's just about working out what works for you, and it might be trial and error - I might have to start taking the train a bit and /or staying over if it is too much (or if next supervisor is not so flexible re: working from home etc) as I am not sure I could do more than three days of it.

Pixie
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Re: Commuting to Placements and Uni during training

Post by Pixie » Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:53 pm

Thanks so much for your responses, Enid, BlueCat and SarahG. It's really helpful to think about the positives of longer journeys on public transport, hear about supportive supervisors and I hadn't thought about it being easier outside of term time teaching. Financially, I'm probably not able to house share mid-week but am feeling much more positive about managing the commute, which should involve some scenic driving -and hopefully not too much standstill motorway traffic - thank you!

jamesivens
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Re: Commuting to Placements and Uni during training

Post by jamesivens » Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:49 am

I live in london but commute for my course in the west midlands. The only option for me was to rent a room mid-week as the commute would have been too much, which I thought would spread me thinly financially (with rent, mortgage, balancing two cars with my wife etc). However, I found a room to rent near the course base, which meant that I can claim max travel expenses, and offset that with the cost of renting a room (it pretty much evens out). Our course is also a huge geographical area, so I've also had to factor in staying in a B&B a couple of nights in the week but that's covered by the trust which means I've not had to be out of pocket waiting for the expenses to come through. There's lots of downsides living away mid-week but also it's quite nice, I do most of my work and course stuff mid week which keeps my weekends free and when the teaching days reduce over summer, I'll be home home more than days of the week than in the rented room. Good luck with it

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