Driven to distraction? Making the most of a long journey

Think long journeys are for catching up on sleep and TV? Actually there’s nothing more useful than being trapped in a seat for a set number of hours…by Carina Hart


Whether you’re on a train to Cardiff, a coach to Aberdeen or a plane to Beijing, the Long Student Journey is an unavoidable part of university life. It is also a criminally underused opportunity. So what do you do for six hours stuck in a seat with a laptop and a notebook? Why, you work, of course!

Everyone will be on a different journey. Here’s how to make the most of yours:

The 09:39 Sparky to Sleepsville:

Driven to distraction? Making the most of a long journeyDo you always start the trip with good intentions, ready to make inroads into that coursework, then wake up two hours later with your head on your flapjack? Try setting yourself one clear task, and a reward for finishing it. So don’t allow yourself that flapjack until you’ve written the intro paragraph for your essay, or finished reading that book chapter. Then you can scoff and snooze all you like.


The 05:20 Jitterbug Express:

Driven to distraction? Making the most of a long journeyCan’t keep still and focus on one thing? Then don’t: make a mighty to-do list, prioritising all your tasks for the coming weeks. Search the Library Search catalogue for all the books you’re going to need, then add them to your Bag in your Library account – just click ‘Add to Bag’ on each book’s record. Reading list done.


The 16:18 Quease Train:

Driven to distraction? Making the most of a long journeyCan’t read on the go? Makes you feel sick? No, that doesn’t get you out of working. You can listen to a podcast and gaze out of the window, smug in the knowledge that your brain is absorbing something useful. Download podcasts in advance in case the wifi is patchy. You can also do this if you’re lucky enough to be driving in your own car.


The 10:31 First Class Procrastination:

Driven to distraction? Making the most of a long journeyYou always intended to write your essay on this journey. You really did. It’s just that there was some really important stuff on Facebook, and you were composing this really witty tweet… and now you can’t face the essay. Instead, log into some e-books or journals from the Library website to beef up your secondary material. If you put all the references in Endnote Online while you’re at it, your bibliography will magically be done. Then tap some notes out as you read, copy and paste the useful quotations, and you’ll have half your essay written before the refreshments trolley comes around again.


The 12:08 Sleeper Ferry:

Driven to distraction? Making the most of a long journeyOK, fine. It’s midnight. Just read the study blog – and while you’re here, check into your Library account to see if any books need renewing or fines need paying. You know you won’t do it in the morning.


What’s your best tip for making the most of a long journey?

Image: L’Hogwarts Express/Giulio/CC-BY-ND 2.0

Tenmoreminutes/Max Slowik/ CC BY 2.0

Clouds from Aeroplanes HEL-LND-8605/TeppoTK/ CC BY 2.0

Room With A View/ thebmag/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

First-class Interior, First Great Western HST/ harrypope/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Warm Glow/sea turtle/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


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