With hundreds of thousands of students heading to university every year, the big question that awaits each individual is: home or away?
The upheaval that inevitably comes with university means that many students choose a local one and travel from home to attend their lectures, leaving their original life unchanged. This decision is understandable when you consider home commitments, jobs and the worry about leaving family behind and losing key friendships, all problems that occur when leaving home to attend a faraway university.
Although I understand the reasons to stay home, I would strongly argue that this means you miss out on what university really gives you, and how it can enrich your life. If you live at home you cannot get as involved as you would if you moved away – missing out on all the essential life skills you discover independently, not to mention the fun you could be having. Where else in the world can you spend 24/7 with friends, eat whatever you want and learn how to solve problems like being locked out drunk in your underpants at 3.55am?
The biggest advantage of going away for university is independence. While away from home, students can learn how to cook, work, study and make decisions without parental guidance. Learning how to wash, cook and organise your own time can at first seem daunting but, after a few weeks, it is the benefits of learning such tasks that make university such a rewarding experience. With increased responsibility comes freedom and this is what moving away from home greatly allows, there is no curfew, no rules and no one there to make your mind up for you – there is nothing more liberating than being able to do exactly what you want!
An active social life
Socially, moving away from home to attend to university is the better option – it is much easier to make new friends when you are present to attend all the activities and nights out. If you travel from home, it will be much harder to initially integrate yourself due to your inability to attend most of the inexhaustible list of Freshers activities. Living with friends is also not just exciting and fun, but beneficial too – you realise how you can live independently and spend close time with people of your own age. Making decisions and contributing to a group can only really be achieved if you are living in student accommodation, with other people going through the same changes as you.
Education wise, I would agree that staying home has less bearing on your university experience as attending lectures, seminars and meetings is the only way you can complete your course effectively – opportunities that are available for both home and away students. The only way I would argue that being away at university for lectures is the ease with which you can travel to your lectures; if you live a train ride away travelling for an hours lecture must be pretty frustrating and inconvenient. Being in the same city as your university means you can also spend more time in the library, attend voluntary sessions and often students find it comforting to know that academic help is nearby and easily accessible.
A third year myself, I would not change my university experience in any way – I am so glad I chose to move away and create a new independent life at university. Doing this meant I could spend time with my friends and realise what it was like to have to fend totally for myself. I do miss home and when I return I am so happy to be there but I will never regret moving away – my experience would be so different if I had chosen to stay home. I think the advantages of living at university are multitudinous and this definitely makes it a worthwhile investment.
Do you agree? Did you move away for University and regret it, or stay and home and still were able to lead an independent life? Share your thoughts below!