Deciding which university to go to can be a tough decision. There are so many factors that play a part in your final university choice and whilst your teachers, friends and family members will all have an opinion of what you should do, ultimately its you that has to decide. Things like money, jobs, families and partners can all impact on your university decision but it’s a very personal and important choice to make, so definitely listen to what everyone has to say – but make sure you pick what you want. Coming from a grammar school background, we always felt a slight pressure to move away for university because that’s what our school friends were doing and it’s what our teachers recommended. However, we always knew in our hearts that staying in Plymouth was the right choice for us. When we told people we were staying at home for university, we were always met with the same reactions:
“You won’t make any friends; students only make friends from living in halls.”
“You won’t have any independence at home, you’ll go to university each day and that’s it.”
“Your social life will be rubbish; you won’t ever be able to go out.”
These worries were always in the back of our minds before starting, but after the first day they were completely gone. Obviously by not living in halls we missed a massive opportunity to easily make friends, but we definitely didn’t struggle – it just took a little more effort. By the first day we had already met a few people and had been invited to a course friend’s house for that night (who is still one of our best friends now!). During the first few months it’s important to meet as many new people as possible, because often you will more even more people through your new friends. We’ve met so many people through friends, whether that be on nights-out, through societies, on your course or even randomly on campus! There are endless of opportunities to make new friends and get involved in everything the university offers!
Money was a big influential reason for us staying at home. The thought of having to pay for rent, food and alcohol on top of our tuition fees seemed quite a lot! Living at home allows us to leave university with much less debt compared to our peers, and has allowed us to take up other opportunities during our breaks like visiting friends at university, travelling and going on holiday/to festivals. Our course (BSc Hons Business Management) was offered as a two-year fast-track option as well, which means we only have to pay for two years’ worth of tuition fees, not the traditional three, and still get the same degree! We’ve also been able to keep our part-time jobs, meaning that we can sometimes afford trips away during summer. It also equips you with great people skills and makes you much more employable in today’s tough and competitive jobs market.
We’re lucky enough to live with parents who are pretty relaxed and give us the freedom to do most things which allows us to be a bit more independent - but we also get the bonus of having meals cooked for us, washing and ironing done and bedrooms tidied! How lucky are we!? We’re so fortunate to not be charged rent from them as well – which helps us out massively and we love them lots for helping us out that way!
Overall, staying at home was the best choice for us. We made plenty of friends during our first few months which set us up for a great year. Your university experience is what you make of it and you have to be the one who controls it. Get stuck in to all the societies and get to know as many people as possible because these are the people that make your experience that bit more special. Living at home during university does not mean you are going to miss out on the lifestyle – there are always ways around any obstacles in your way. We had the best of both worlds – friends on our course, friends at home, family to support us, less debt and the opportunity to earn a little bit of extra money through our part-time jobs to help fund our busy social life and jaunts away from Plymouth. It’s a personal preference and only you will know what is the right decision for you – but staying at home is definitely worth considering.
Until next time,
The Hens :)