After reading through Ashleigh‘s post on why she has chosen to stay at home for University, I thought that I would write my own post from my perspective as a recent Graduate (although my University doesn’t actually hold Graduation week until October/November). I think that picking a University to attend is a big decision and it really does rest on your grades at A-Level or Highers or any other qualification you do that enables you to attend university.
When I was picking my university choices of UCAS, I had my local university twice and then two universities further away. Both my first and second choice were my university. I did end up taking a year out but I went to University a year later – I actually applied during Fresher’s week so it was sort of a last minute decision but I had been thinking about it for a while during my gap year anyway.
You might think ‘didn’t you want to move away from uni?’ and the thing is, I actually have everything I need where I live. I have a job which means income, my parents were absolutely fine with me staying at home and my main thought is that I am at University to get my degree and further my education. If I can do it cheaper when it’s already so expensive, I may as well. Plus I know a few people who moved away and then came home and feel like they’re a kid again with their parents telling them what to do! I definitely don’t feel like that because my parents have seen me grow up more whilst at University.
I live roughly 7 minutes away from the main university campus, which was the campus I was on for pretty much all of my lectures so there was no point me moving into halls at all. I understand that you may think ‘didn’t you miss the halls experience and making friends?’ The answer is a little bit, but it was not the end of the world. The idea that you only make friends if you live in halls is so far from right, it’s almost left. I attended the welcome events during freshers week (the ones I could attend as I was still working full time) and met some people at those, some who were on my course. I also then attended my lectures (obviously..) and made friends there, one of which is a definite friend for life. So halls is not the be all and end all of your university experience. In fact, throughout my three years at university, I made friends through other friends, but also through sports and society groups.
Society groups can be your best bet at meeting people. I dabbled in a few throughout my three years, but only in my third and final year did I attend a sports group, Pole fitness, which I attended almost every week. I made friends there, and although I couldn’t attend the socials every Wednesday night, I still made friends with the girls in my class. The best way to make friends while living at home is to really put yourself out there, whether it’s in your classes or in a sports or society group.
The other thing about halls is that you always hear students have had arguments with their flatmates. Halls aren’t all fun and games constantly. Also, students don’t live in them the whole duration of their course. They move out into student housing for second and third year and in both years, the work ramps up a bit. By the time you’ve made it into second year, most people have made friends and know who they are and so halls really aren’t that big of a deal. If you really feel like you are missing out on the ‘university away from home’ experience, move into student housing in your second year, before the workload increases.
One of the things that staying at home benefits you with, is that say you get a job in your first year of university, that then means you have a job to carry you through the whole three or four years. Then university finishes and you need to find a full time job. Unlike your friends that moved away for university that are now moving back home, you have that part-time job you got while at university while you’re looking for a new role, whereas those that have had to move home will have nothing straight away (unless they are lucky or do a store transfer!).
I personally finished university, worked for a month, and then left to go interrailing round Europe for 6 weeks, however based on my past experiences during my time at university and in my gap year, I was lucky enough to find a temporary job! Honestly though, staying at home enabled me to be able to save and go away interrailing, as had I moved away for university, I definitely would not have been able to go!
Do I sometimes wish that I had attended a University away from home? Yes, I do, but then I also don’t regret staying at home at all. Like I said, I have absolutely everything I need here. If I was to do a Masters, which I have considered doing and it is something I would like to do in the future, I would attend a different, but still close university so that I can still live at home.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting or having to stay at home and go to a local university, and I promise that you really don’t miss out on much. University and your experience of it really is what you make it to be.