The Realities Of Living At Home When You're At Uni
The Debrief: You don't have to live in halls to have all the fun, y'know
When the time rolled around for me to go to uni I opted to live at home. While this wasn't the initial plan (I didn’t get into my first choice uni boo-hoo-hoo), after wailing about how unfair life is, I made the decision to stick to the family dwellings and enrol at a local-ish university. Now I'm not going to sit here and pretend than living at home and studying IS THE BEST CHOICE EVER, but it should be an option that you consider, because so many people don't – for instance, over half of London undergrads will leave the big smoke for university, despite it having the most higher education centres in the UK. And if it's possible, and your parents don't mind you hogging the remote and eating all their food for a bit longer, why not? 'Students who stay at home often feel they benefit from having a solid and familiar support network around them. University can be challenging in lots of ways, so having good support, close at hand and the advantage of already knowing the area can make things easier,' says Gareth Hughes, psychotherapist and research in Student Support Service at the University of Derby. Well said, Gareth. But as with any situation, there are highs and lows when you opt to stay at home during uni. Here's what it's really like...
You won't be able to really 'do' freshers
Ok, lets lay this on the table, if your main reason to go to uni is for the drinking, partying and to be able to say this kind of sentence - 'yeah I did like 11 nights in a row for freshers and like one was like 24 hours straight jägerbombing.' Living at home is not for you, friend. It’s difficult to manoeuvre fresher’s nights and travelling back to the family yard. Memorising the last trains and night bus schedule is a drag and then you have the added pressure of your parents still worrying about where you are and if you’re going to be out late. Sure, it’s all fun and games riding the N36 with the crazy lady clipping her toenails but that novelty will wear off quickly.
You will have more money
This is just a fact. Firstly, you will not have to spend your maintenance loan/grant on rent (great news! Spend it all on snazzy new clothes books instead). Secondly, not living with fellow students means that you will not be made to partake in every dorm outing to the SU by just being alive and present, saving you a pretty penny on all those tequila shots you’re missing out on (this is also great if you want to make up fake plans and watch Netflix without being caught).
You actually have to TRY to make friends
Ah here’s the stinger – you will have to make a conscience effort to talk to people. ‘This is the case for all students’ I hear you scream, yes, but when you move away your new situation kind of forces you to talk to people/everyone’s in the same boat/they’ve bonding drinking tequila shots in the SU. When you live at home you spend a few hours a week in lectures and then if you really, really want you can just shuffle off, friendless, back to the comfort of your mum’s cooking. So if you want friends you have to actually do things to entice them – like talk to people in your seminars and join societies and walk up to random people and compliment their jacket (I actually did this and yes it worked).
You will have fewer friends than your school friends who moved away
Despite your successful attempts at uni friendship (like your cool jacket friend and seminar buddies) it’s highly likely that your best school friends who moved away will have a LOAD of new mates and you’re just going to have to come to terms with this. Every time you speak to them they will have a different story about another mate and you’ll question how one has time to befriend so many people. It’s ok if you can’t keep up, they can’t either really, and hey, if they are your mate’s mates they are basically yours too right? Friends for everybody.
You will batter your 16-25 railcard
So you see that money you’re saving by living at home, well that’ll come to good use when it comes to visiting your friends. Traipsing across the nation to see your crew is so worth it – it’s all the fun bits of uni and you get special treatment because you’re their ‘friend from back home’. It’s kind of freeing too, I mean you have an automatic new bunch of friends and you can kind do what/whoever and then swan off back on the train home. Just don’t do anything too stupid - your friend might not be keen to have you back if the last time you came up you were hurling drunken abuse at the kebab shop man and then slipped in your own sick. Just saying.
People will make you think you’re less of an adult
‘You haven’t ever moved away from your parents’ home? It’s amazing you were able to even dress yourself – well done.’ The uninformed will shriek.
Now I’m not saying that when I lived at home whilst at uni I knew the price of a loaf of bread and was ace at divvying up the WIFI bill, but I am calling BS on the idea that somehow not moving out makes you less of an adult. Unless you’re a complete spoilt brat you will do laundry, cook and clean like a normal mature human being. In fact this will become currency if you don’t give your ‘rents rent money so do it and be thankful that you don’t have to clean up a complete stranger’s crap.
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Photo by Lukasz Wierzbowski
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