I didn’t pick the University of Manchester just because I wanted to stay at home. In fact, at first, that wasn’t my plan at all. But, after much deliberation, I decided to stay at home for quite a few reasons. Whilst there’s some slight disadvantages to living away from the university bubble, I have realised there are ways to overcome these. The positives outweigh the negatives and I have really enjoyed my experience as a living at home student – it’s something I would encourage local perspective students to think about. Hopefully these points will help you to decide if it’s something you’d like to consider.
Freshers’ Week makes you question your choice.
During Freshers’ Week, most nights out are organised in halls and it’s common that living at home students don’t get a look in. Don’t be disheartened – Freshers’ Week isn’t the be all and end all. Opportunities to socialise outside of your classes come up throughout the entire year (and it’ll be cheaper after Freshers’ Week anyway). You’ll see social media posts from your friends that moved away, and they’ll look like they’re having a blast. It’s possible you’ll feel a little lonely, I know I did, but you soon realise that there’s other ways to socialise beyond Freshers’ Week. You don’t have to miss out all year, even if you feel as though you have done during your first week.
You’ll spend A LOT of time correcting people’s assumptions.
This is particularly true during Freshers’ Week and at events where you’re meeting new people. One of the ice-breaker questions at university after “what’s your name?” and “where are you from?” is “what halls are you living in?” Brace yourself! The pre-conceived idea of what university students are like doesn’t do us any favours. We’re supposed to love Pot Noodles and ready meals, going out and drinking. Instead, to some, we’re boring, unsociable, and mummy still makes us our meals. Living at home doesn’t make us boring, it just means that it was convenient for us. It doesn’t make us dependent on our parents either. If people seem like they don’t understand, don’t worry. It’s your choice and your choice alone. As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters!
You have get involved and make an effort.
This sounds a little obvious, but you have to try hard as a living at home student. It’s essential you get involved in societies and social events within your school in your first week and beyond to make friends and so you don’t feel as though you’re missing out. I was lucky enough to find an amazing set of friends on my course – we met at the social events during our first week of university and we’ve been friends ever since. You really must put yourself out there and join in. Close friendships lead to socialising outside of university time and friends will probably let you stop over after a night out too which is always handy.
You will have more money (probably).
Of course, everybody’s situation is different but a massive bonus for me is that I haven’t needed an overdraft. I’m much more comfortable financially compared to if I was living in university accommodation and as a result I have been able to enjoy a lot of experiences, such as numerous city breaks to satisfy my wanderlust. Whilst this wasn’t really a priority for me when considering whether to stay at home or move to halls, and just a bonus, it’s definitely something to consider if money is important to you.
It’s sometimes simply more convenient.
If you’re thinking of staying at home, you probably have quite a few reasons as to why. For me, it just made sense. It’s easy to travel to and from university from my house and I’m lucky to get on very well with my family – I had no strong desire to move away. I still have friends that live nearby so it’s easy to see them, I was able to keep my part-time job that I love, and the university-home separation works for me; I feel so focused when I go to university and then I come home to relax. Convenience is a big advantage if it applies to you and it’s something worth considering in relation to what you want from the next few years of your life.
My time as a living at home student has often been challenging but, overall, it has been a positive experience and I certainly don’t regret my decision. I wish I’d have known before I started university that the first couple of weeks would be tough, then I could prepare myself and look forward to settling into a routine properly after Freshers’ Week. Sometimes you do feel a little lonely and removed from life on campus but there are solutions to most of the difficulties that you’ll face. My advice to anyone that’s made the choice to stay at home is to get involved in societies, school events and any other activities that appeal to you and remember, your university experience is exactly what you make it.