University, for most people is a chance to move away from their hometown, leave their childhood home (even if only for three years) and create lots of brand new memories. I want to talk about something I found absolutely NO advice on when I was starting my degree last year, and that is: What is it like living at home while studying at uni? The short answer – absolutely fine. However, that does not mean that everything is a complete breeze.
Before starting uni I scoured the internet for advice about living at home, desperately trying to reassure myself that I had made the right decision. I had no luck. My mind was swimming with questions that had no answers. ‘what if I don’t make any friends?’ ‘how will I do freshers week?’ ‘If I don’t do freshers then am I even a student??’ ‘Everyone will think I’m a loser’ ‘I’ll feel SO left out.’. Turns out I didn’t really have to worry so much. I am not a huge ‘going out clubbing’ kind of person, I enjoy it when I do, but it’s not often I go out into town, I prefer quiet drinks with friends over a club any day. So in that sense, freshers week wasn’t as much of a big deal as it is for some people, but that doesn’t mean that the #FOMO wasn’t real 😂 . But because I live reasonably far away from the city centre I missed out on most of freshers week.
(Little bit of context here: My family actually relocated to York before I started studying there, which meant as much as I live at home for uni, I still kind of moved away to study so I have the best of both worlds in some respects). So I am quite lucky, but here are some of the pro’s and the con’s to living at home with some tips on how to make the most of it.
- Financially better off: Living at home means that you have very little stress regarding money (obviously depending on your situation). You’ll have more money to spend on getting all your books which has come in handy for me being a literature student. (I have to buy soooo many books!). It also means you have that extra money to socialise when you want to. I am not by no means saying blow your student loan on nights out, (don’t do that!) but it does give you that little bit more freedom to do what you want to do.
- Ability to get a permanent part-time job (If you wish to): Sometimes when you are studying in a city that isn’t your home town, it’s often hard to find a job that will accommodate the fact that you are basically living in two places. Even if you are lucky enough to secure that perfect job, employers often need staff during the holidays – i.e when you’ll be off home to your family which can mean missing out or having to travel between home and your university town which isn’t always easy if home and uni are quite far apart!
- Having separate spaces for work and relaxation: When I was at Sixth Form I found it really hard to relax at home because I did most of my work and revision there – meaning that being able to truly switch off from it all was really hard. I imagine living in halls is not too dissimilar. Living at home means that I can do all my work at uni in the library which then allows me to come home and switch off. I’ll sometimes stay at uni as late as 10pm but at least I know that when I get home I have nothing more to do and can clamber straight into bed.
- #FOMO is R E A L: I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have a huge fear of missing out, and I did miss out. I missed out on freshers week, making friends with people other than those on my course. Sometimes it just isn’t possible to go to social events I have to catch the last bus home (at like 11:30pm?!?) which isn’t 100% convenient because a taxi to myself is SO EXPENSIVE.
- Not being able to TRULY experience independence: When you live in halls you are responsible for yourself COMPLETELY. That means managing finances, going food shopping, preparing and cooking yourself well-balanced meals, cleaning up and being responsible for keeping on top of uni life – both academically and socially. Living at home my mum cooks a meal for the family every night, and while I still have to tidy up after myself, I don’t have the pressure that most students have and therefore, not the same amount of independence.
- Actually living at home: It’s all well and good saying ‘yeah, I’ll live at home’ thinking it’ll be easy. It definitely isn’t. I am expected to contribute to the day to day running of the house just like my parents do (which is something I am happy to do) but it is something to consider before you decide to stay at home.
- Having zero friends when they all go home during holidays: Living at home obviously means that you’re relatively close to where you’re studying – which isn’t the case for a lot of other students and of course, undoubtedly, your uni friends.
However, despite this list outlining the best and worst parts about living at home, I wouldn’t change my decision at all. First year was everything I’d hoped and more in my own little way. I met some lovely people and have never been more excited to go back in September. So to those of you living at home, I hope this provides some reassurance. And those considering it – you won’t regret it no matter what you choose, think about what suits you as a person rather than what ‘every student’ does.