Graduates recommend a ‘Fresh Airs Week’ for new university students to maintain mental health and boost grades

  • 75% of recent graduates regret not getting outside and exploring more during their university years, with 95% believing this is key for maintaining good mental health
  • Almost 1 in 3 graduates believe getting outdoors improves productivity and concentration, helping students to perform better
  • 16-25 Railcard can save students 1/3 off train travel, helping them unlock countless adventures and save an average of £159 a year

September 2022: Graduates across the UK are encouraging ‘Freshers’ to get outdoors and make the most of the areas surrounding their new university towns and cities, with three-quarters (75%) wishing they had done this more, and 95% believing this is important for maintaining good mental health during the university years, according to new research from the rail industry.Furthermore, a third of those surveyed said that being outdoors improves productivity (31%) with 30% agreeing it also boosts concentration, helping university students to reach their full potential.

As a new intake of ‘Freshers’ start university this month, the findings show that not exploring outside their university town or city is a common regret amongst those who have graduated in the last five years. However, a quarter (25%) said lack of money prevented them from venturing further afield – a statistic likely to be exacerbated further by the current cost-of-living crisis. The 16-25 Railcard offers students a lifeline with 1/3 off train travel by helping them explore further afield, get to student jobs or back to their hometown for a home cooked meal and to get their washing done.

Respondents said that improved university/life balance (36%), making memories with friends (34%), and broadening horizons and seeing new places (32%) were other main benefits of getting out and about during university – while almost a third agreed it also improves fitness levels (32%).

Catherine Lyver, Head of Propositions and Marketing at Rail Delivery Group, said: “Being outdoors improves productivity, concentration, and creativity, which all contributes to helping university students reach their full potential while providing the perfect opportunity to create memories and shared experiences with new friends.

“We want to remind university students that it’s still possible to find adventure on a student budget and encourage them to use the savings they can make with a 16-25 Railcard to see as much of Britain as possible at this exciting time in their life, rather than restricting themselves to the immediate area surrounding their university.”

Studying in Manchester? Students can venture to Oxenholme in the Lake District in under 90 minutes and visit England’s largest National Park with more than 3,100 kilometres of land to walk, cycle and ride. Bristol student? Head to Swindon in under half an hour and climb White Horse Hill, the highest point in Oxfordshire with stunning views stretching over six counties. Need to escape the hustle and bustle of lively London? Why not hop on a train at St Pancras, and you can take in the iconic White Cliffs of Dover in just over an hour?

Discussing her experience, recent University of Reading graduate and founder of Gals Who Graduate, Bronte King, said,I’m definitely one of the 75% that wish I’d explored outside my university city more. Being outdoors has so many benefits, and I’m sure getting out and about on weekends, getting fresh air, seeing different sights, and keeping myself busy would have helped my mental health and made me feel less homesick. As a student, you’re always watching the pennies, but there are many great ways to save on experiences, like investing in a 16-25 Railcard.”

Current Bristol university student Woody Cook agrees, saying, “Having a Railcard has allowed me to travel further for cheaper during my studies. Travelling between Brighton, London and Bristol can be expensive if you decide to make a last-minute trip but using my 16-25 Railcard I get up to 1/3 off travel – it’s amazing for getting outdoors and getting to festivals and gigs. Had it not been for the discounts it provides; I wouldn’t have been able to explore the cities and places I did.”

The 16-25 Railcard is a great way for students to save on travel, offering 1/3 off rail fares when travelling by train. Students can save money on trips into town, days out to the coast, weekend festivals, and visits home – as many times as they like. Costing just £30, a Railcard pays for itself in just a couple of journeys and saves students an average of £159** a year.

For more information and to purchase a Railcard, click here.