When it comes to University study, a lot of students want to move away from home and start their lives in a brand new location.
Which is definitely not a bad thing.
Studying and living at a University far from home definitely throws you in the deep end, and here you develop life-long skills about independence and not relying on your parents.
But not everybody’s University experience is the same.
This is my post about why I chose a University close to home – and why I don’t regret that decision.
A little clarity here. I have had two University experiences – once as an undergrad and once as a Masters student. And in both times, I chose to study at my local University instead of looking further afield.
For my undergrad decision, the reasons I picked my local University were simple:
1: The University had a good reputation for being a great place to study.
2: The facilities were all brand new (a lot of the University was built and finished during the years I was there in 2012-2015. And when I did my Masters last year, there was still building work to improve the quality of the library)
3: The on-campus dorms were high-quality, and seemed very safe and welcoming.
4: The course was exactly what I wanted and the staff seemed welcoming.
5: The town was just over 30 miles from my house.
The last reason appealed to me quite a lot.
I’m definitely a home bird. I’ve lived in one village my entire life and been blessed to been raised by the sea. So for me to pick a University in a big city was quite daunting.
And to my credit, I did. I picked a few Universities and travelled to open days to see them. And yes, the city life was exciting. But it was also noisy and expensive.
It just wasn’t me. Yes, the town I’ve been raised in does go dead in the winter. And yes the nightlife and culture (I mean more traditional theatrical productions and big concert venues) aren’t the greatest. But that’s never really bothered me.
Staying home and close to my family was the thing that really swayed me. I’ve never had the biggest group of friends, but I had a few special friends that came
with me from college. I didn’t want to leave all the people I was close to for a new experience.
Not yet anyway.
I knew that a city-life University life wasn’t going to be the best for me as I wouldn’t enjoy it. I knew I’d be too homesick.
And if I was going to shell £9k a year (plus other loans) for an experience, I wanted it to be the one I felt the most comfortable with.
But there were a few things I did that made me feel like I had a ‘Full Uni experience’. I think that if any readers of this blog are having these same issues, this may help you.
So, how to live near home but still have a ‘Full Uni Experience’:
1: Move out. Yes, bite the bullet and get indebted to move 30 miles from home. I did the whole Uni halls thing, then in my second and third year I moved into a student house. This was a good way for me to get some independence and learn some (bad) culinary skills. It also helped me with budgeting, living alone and doing household chores.
2: If you need to commute, get help with it. Consider a car-share or bus/train passes. In my third year and Masters year, I had to move home and travel in. This wasn’t much of a deal for me, but for some people, this could be costly. For students, the 16-25 railcard is invaluable by National Rail. Ask at your University’s Student Union for local deals.
3: Don’t go home every weekend. I loved that the option was there for me. If I wanted too, I could be home within an hour. But I made sure I didn’t do that. I sometimes didn’t see my parents for a month as I was too busy. But that’s what Uni is for.
4: Make new friends. University is going to be FULL of new people who all come from different cultures/backgrounds/countries. So get to know them. Just because you’ve got friends who’ve you know since you were six, don’t isolate yourself away from potential new friends.
5: Act like a tourist. If you’re like me, and your local University is in a very holidaymaker area – act like one! Do things you wouldn’t do at home. Go on open-bus rides, go to stately homes, try out local festivals, eat at new restaurants. Do things that you would do if you were living somewhere brand new.
6: Write letters or emails. I used this a lot. I used to write letters home to my dad monthly. It gave me the sense of living further away than I did and it was cool to fill him in on what I was doing.
7: Don’t act pompous that you live nearby. Some people may be really struggling with homesickness. And just because your house is close by, it doesn’t mean you can be all bigheaded about it. Help them out.
8: Don’t go home straight after term finishes. Stay on a little longer. Remember, you’re still paying rent here so why not use it? The town I studied in really comes alive in the summer, and I loved being there to see it.
9: Treat it like a real Uni experience. Because IT IS.
I hope you enjoyed this post.
Let me know if you have any thoughts about studying near home/travelling further afield. I’d love to know what you think. My next post will be ‘Living at home whilst studying’ – so if you’ve got any points you want me to flag up, let me know.
Also – if you’ve moved away from home to study, hit me up on my email. I’d love to hear the other side of the story.
Interesting Links I used whilst researching this post: