Why It's Okay To Not Live In Student Halls

Friday, September 2, 2016

September marks the beginning of my second year at university. When I get asked which university I'm attending, people often find it odd that I stayed in my hometown. University for many is a time to spread your wings and leave the nest as you begin to develop your independence and venture out into the adult world. Which I can completely understand. But it's when people tell me that because I am living at home that must mean that I'm missing out on the complete university experience. And so, if like me you are beginning university this month and have chosen to stay at home; this is why it's okay not to live in student halls...

Making friends
The thing people tell me the most that I'm missing out on by staying at home is making new friendships. But I've found that this isn't necessarily true. Like most schools and colleges, universities tend to start the year with something known as an 'ice breaker'. You'll typically be told to share to the class your name and a little fact about yourself to help everyone get to know each other better. From this you'll begin to learn a little more about everyone's individual interests and meet people which you share common ground with. You'll be sure to go from the two shy kids on the front desk to the ones giggling every lesson in the back corner in no time.

Aside from nervous first day introductions, universities tend to offer a wide range of clubs and activities for you to partake in throughout the year if you so wish. These extra curricular activities are such a great way to meet likeminded individuals and friends for life.

The freshers experience
Undoubtedly the biggest thing about starting university is of course, the one and only 'fresher's week'.  And if you aren't living in halls how could you possibly experience this to its fullest?! For around the first month or so of university, leaflets are handed to you from left, right and centre as you enter its gates each morning; by your fellow students trying to make themselves some extra, much needed cash. Each leaflet typically promotes an upcoming club night aimed at freshers and so, have no fear.. Being out of halls doesn't mean you'll be out of the loop of parties too! 
I personally am not the biggest of drinkers either, 9 times out of 10 I'd rather choose a cosy night in with a hot chocolate and films instead of a night on the town and so for me, rather than viewing it as missing out on the experience; I'm saving so much more money instead!

And speaking of money, when I did the maths it's safe to say that my finances would be pretty dire if I had chosen to move into university accommodation. Having to pay for my own rent, food, toiletries, university essentials and a social life on top of all of that... I've no idea how you students survive! Don't get me wrong, I contribute to my upkeep at home but I'm spending no way near as much as I would be if I was in halls! I've known some individuals (naming no names, of course!) that have been lucky to enough to have their parents offer to pay their rent and so they have the entirety of their student loan to spend freely as they wish. I however, was not in this kind of position.
If you realistically think your finances would struggle by moving into university accommodation, then seriously do not take the risk. It's better to be safe than sorry.

The peace and quiet
One of the biggest off puts for me about university was 100% the noise. I need my cup of coffee and my sanity in my quiet office at home to ensure I get my work done. A house full of rowdy students was just not the environment I could have been in and achieved the grades that I did during my first year. I didn't just sign up to university to party, I wanted to work hard and achieve the best that I possibly could. With the peer pressure of being asked to venture out most nights, the stress of living in a messy apartment and my overall inability to concentrate surrounded by others. I would have inevitably failed.

No matter where you choose to spend your university experience, make sure that it's the right thing for you. Everything happens for a reason and you'll no doubt enjoy an experience that is catered to you. I know some people that are living at home and travel an hour by train to make it into university each morning but I also know others living in halls that are having the time of their lives. Everyone is different and you'll fit right into university one way or another.
I hope that this post reassured you somewhat if you're about to begin university and have chosen to stay at home. University is a daunting experience for all but just remember that everyone is all in the same boat as you and you will make friends. 
2016 Freshers: Good luck, stay safe and have lots and lots of fun.
Until next time,

Are you headed to university this month?!  
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