By Rosie, Chemistry
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Birmingham
I don’t think I ever really indulged the idea of living out at Birmingham – it’s my home city and home is about a forty minute drive to campus. Deep down I must have felt that I just wouldn’t cope with living elsewhere right now.
I’m going into the third year of my degree in October and I don’t feel as though I’ve missed out on the big University experience at all, or that I’m any less of a student. Sure, most people at university live in halls or Selly Oak, but there are more people living at home than I expected – I came across quite a few more people in my second year compared to my first.
I think there may be some misconceptions about people who choose to live at home – perhaps that they are withdrawn, too stuck in their own comfort zone, etc. In my case, I do enjoy the social scene at University, but I have never been able to party night after night so I suppose living at home gives me a happy medium to dip in and out as I please.
Throughout the year I can rack up quite a hefty bill with Uber, but lots of people are also more than happy for me to crash on their sofa after a night out. Equally, some of my Uni friends enjoy coming over to my house: a home-cooked meal, washing (!) or chilling in the garden can give friends a welcome respite.
I would say to anyone thinking of commuting from home that it’s a good idea to put some extra effort into making friends, especially at the beginning. I don’t think you’re at a huge disadvantage but, certainly initially, people tend to huddle with those they live with and it can feel like you’re walking into a lecture theatre full of people who have spent much more time with each other than you have. I think as long as you’re open and say ‘yes’ as much as possible to going to the pub after labs, grabbing a coffee after a lecture, going to a house party or an event on campus, making friends is really not a problem and you’ll find your tribe in good time.
One of the times I do most appreciate living at home is around exams and having my own space to revise in. Personally, I do enjoy the quiet of home around exam time, but everyone has a different preference!
I’ve always been a home bird, but I’m not going to live at home forever! I think I have much more capacity as a result of not living elsewhere right now: for me, living at home throughout university was the best route I could have taken. I have my own safe place to come back to for peace and quiet, a good night’s sleep and Mum still does my washing!
My biggest piece of advice is to be true to yourself – in my experience, people at University really respect you for that. Sometimes it’s not easy to identify what would suit you best, but if your gut feeling is to live at home, then that is absolutely fine and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.