How will I make friends if I don’t live in halls? Will I feel like I’m at University if I still live at home? Will I miss out on the real ‘University experience’?
Well, this depends on what you want to get out of your time at University.
Many locals each year opt to remain living at home, either by choice or due to financial struggles, and are led to believe they are less of a student than the likes of Michael from Sussex, who has packed his bags and travelled miles from home to live independent of his parents for the first time.
However daunting this may seem, living at home does not equate to being any less of a student – you just need to make the most of your own unique university experience.
As my third year approaches as an English with Philosophy student, I am one of many from Liverpool that goes to the local Russell group, and have lived at home every academic year with no regrets. I didn’t particularly have an urge to fly the nest or stay at home, at the time I just thought that living at home made more sense. The commute from my house isn’t long, I’ve managed to save plenty of money, and I know tonnes of Liverpudlians who do the same as me.
Initially, I just wanted to see if I adjusted to and enjoyed uni, and if I felt socially excluded by my peers living in halls, I would move out the following year. Luckily for me, living at home hasn’t affected my social life or studies, and I sometimes feel like more of a student than those living in accommodation.
When Fresher’s week approached, I didn’t want to miss out on what I considered a students ‘right of passage’ – and neither should you. You don’t have to be that person who stays at home and drinks alone. My friend from college and I decided to throw ourselves into the deep end and buy a freshers wristband in the hope of meeting people on our courses. Although this proved a lot more work than we initially thought, we did manage to meet people who are still in our university social circles, as well as meet people who we went to college with and never met whilst doing our A Levels.
If you do go out during Fresher’s week, don’t be put off by people sticking with their flat mates, they’re new to the city and are trying to form friendships in their new living situation. Don’t take yourself out of the equation just because you can’t write a halls of residency on a freshers t-shirt. There’s plenty of events on campus and around the city tailored towards freshers, and you should go out and enjoy them just like every other student!
If you don’t know anyone else from home attending university, or you’re not one for drinking, that also shouldn’t hold you back. Although a main selling point, Fresher’s isn’t just about night outs and getting drunk, there’s plenty of events to cater to everyone, and these are sometimes better for getting to know people. In some cases, you’re more likely to keep in touch with people you met at a quiz night, as oppose to that conversation with drunken John on a night out, who keeps telling you about his love for a cheeky Nandos, but whom you never see again (and maybe that’s a good thing). If you’re anxious about going to an event solo, a night out or otherwise, a good tip is joining and posting on freshers chats or pages, especially ones for your subject. You’d be surprised how keen people are to respond and make friends on their course, regardless of their living status.
If you don’t enjoy these events or meet as many people as you thought, don’t feel defeated. Your time to shine is when the freshers fog fades and the realisation hits that some people don’t love their flatmates as intensely as first thought, when the dishes start piling up. As lectures and seminars begin, you may feel embarrassed when asked which halls you live in, timidly replying with the answer ‘none’. But in reality, people are more fascinated than thrown off by your alternative accommodation, often being jealous of the home comforts that you have at your fingertips.
The best thing to do during your first few weeks is talk to as many people as possible and put yourself out there to try new things. It may seem like everyone wants to stick with their flatmates, but it’s always good to remember that everyone is new to this and equally as anxious towards meeting new people. As uncomfortable as it sounds, simply talking to people in lectures, adding them on Facebook, arranging to meet up outside of timetable can really make the difference. It’s also good attend welcome meetings and join societies too, enabling you to meet people outside your course with similar interests to yourself.
The Guild hosts over 200 societies at the University, from Performing Arts to Celebrating Faith and Culture, so you won’t be lost for choice. This is a great opportunity to spend more time on campus and feel more involved at university, alongside the perks of regular socials and even trips!
There is undoubtably more pros than cons to living at home during your studies than you think. Want to go out on a student night? – Sleep for free in your mates accommodation. Want to buy those new boots from Topshop? – You don’t have to worry about the money being meant for your accommodation. You’re friend is the only one in Liverpool and their flatmates have gone home? – You’re always here to socialise. Feeling ill or going hungry? – Mums on standby with paracetamol and a roast. If you think about it logically, you’ve actually got the best of both worlds.
So if you’re anxious about starting University and stressing that you’ve made a mistake, don’t be. You’re not the only student living at home, and you’ve always got the option to move out in following years. The key thing is to stay positive, get involved, and tailor your University experience to your own needs.
For more information about events and societies on campus, visit: