You’ve trawled up and down the country; sat in numerous lecture halls hearing about how brilliant the course is; inspected copious SU’s and scouted out the local nightlife – now you’ve finally made the life-changing decision of where you’ll be studying for the next few years of your life. But then comes the question – is it necessary to leave home yet?
With university fees constantly on the climb and the cost of living ever-increasing, it seems more students-to-be are debating whether to fly the nest. Why not stay in the comfort of your family home and save a bomb on rent?
After all, you have got the rest of your life to be independent…
Naturally, there’s many pros to staying put – saving money being the most prominent. If your commute is short and your expendables significantly lower, saving your pennies and waiting until you’re in full time employment seems appealing. TSR member Sarah1778 offers us her commuters experience: “the up-side is I have saved a lot of money; my monthly travel pass is around £66 whereas the monthly fee of uni accommodation would have been around £400 excluding food.”
It’s worth calculating the amount you personally would be shelling out for rent, food and the general cost of living if you moved, and weighing it up against the cost of staying at home. It’s likely there will be a considerable difference, and you could possibly even start putting some money aside for post-grad life if you’re already holding down a job.
Talking of which, staying home also usually ensures minimal disruption to your routine and lifestyle – it’s likely you’ll still be holding down the same part-time job and group of friends, which can be appealing if you’re a creature of habit or perhaps a slightly older and more mature (!) student.
Then there’s the reassurance of not putting up with the messy or disruptive housemates that can frequent halls – there’s many smells preferable to that of an overflowing, rotting bin becoming part of the furniture. Revision and studying in general are also considerably easier to crack on with when you haven’t got music blaring through the walls or Becky from next door screaming down the corridor...
You’re certainly not getting any mum-meals if you fly solo!
So you’re saving money, possibly still working… is it enough? Many students complain of a less sociable experience if they don’t move out – factor in leaving social events early for the last train or just not being present when plans are made and you’ve got the recipe for FOMO.
Living in halls or a student house puts you at the center of the action, giving you the opportunity to bond with new people, cement stronger friendships and get invited out more frequently. TSR member Eärendil shares their views: “think about the times you've stayed up chatting to your flat mates until the sun rises. These are the tiny things that solidify friendships and relationships.” – they've got a point.
There are also many societies and extra-curricular activities that your university will offer that could prove difficult to attend if your commute is longer; it’s unlikely you’ll feel motivated to get involved if something falls on a day when you have no classes. You may also be less likely to take full advantage of facilities, like your library, so could spend more on study materials when you get desperate – an important aspect to consider for your staying-at-home budget.
Unarguably, the thing you’ll appreciate most about moving out is independence. Having freedom and privacy for the first time is refreshing; gone are the days of waking up your family when you fall in the door at 4am or updating your mum with your whereabouts every hour.
Obviously you’re going to be flying the nest at some point anyway, and university is a great starting point as it enables you to still use the support available. At least you can rest assured that you're in the same, protected boat as hundreds of others on your campus!
No matter what advice you get from anyone else, it's worth remembering that ultimately it is your decision to make and only you can know what’s right for your circumstances.
What might work for one student could be potentially horrendous for another, so it’s a good idea to sit down with an impartial outsider and weigh up your own personal pros and cons list - good luck!
Do you have an experience to share for those still undecided?
Did you live at home and hate it? Or were halls a complete nightmare?!
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