The day I was accepted to my first choice university in London (UAL), I was over the moon! But one thing I was unsure about was my living situation. As I live in the suburbs of London, near Essex, I am mainly situated at the last few stations on the Central line, meaning I would have to travel from Zone 4 to 1 every day!
My parents and I discussed for a very long time on whether or not I should move out this year, or next year, or never. As we booked a fairly expensive holiday the same year, I didn’t want to weigh their bank accounts down even more by moving out. The decision was all on me, but I decided to to live at home for my first year of university.
Since starting university 6 months ago, I have experienced a few benefits and drawbacks when living at home as a student. It’s not all bad!
Travelling is a big issue in London as the Underground is usually a hit and miss with their delays and random halts in the middle of a tunnel. I normally leave my house at 8:30am and it takes me around an hour to get to university, but I do leave early to prepare for any delays that may occur. It isn’t a great way to start a morning, especially during rush hour. It does demotivate me to go to class some days, but I try to catch up nonetheless!
Another thing is the rush home after class finishes. You want to get on the train before rush hour, otherwise you’ll be spending 10 minutes on the platform waiting for an empty train carriage! Though you do see some reckless people who try to be smart and push into the smallest space possible on a ridiculously packed train, to then be smashed vigorously on the head by the train doors. I’m pretty sure they lose a couple hundred brain cells too!
The worse thing about travelling is the price! Monthly Travelcards are your best option when using TfL services every day. Although it can be pricey, you are guaranteed unlimited taps within the month, which I most definitely take advantage of!
They say that you meet your friends for life in university. However, when living at home your social life can be slightly boring as your options for meeting new people are limited to the people in your class. You see your classmates everyday so you’re bound to start a close friendship with one of them. It may not be as fun as meeting them in a halls flat party while you’re drunk as hell, but you can still meet loads of people in the student bar!
If you were to live away from home, you would have a whole load of responsibilities to take care of, such as cleaning, cooking and laundry. When living at home most of these things can be done for you, and as a student you of course opt for the choice that involves you inputting as little effort as possible. Sure, you help out around the house sometimes, but it’s not a main priority for you. This could be a perk because you have more time to do other things, but also a drawback because it may cause you to become lazy and disorganised.
Even if you live at home, you still get a student finance maintenance loan. It may not be a lot, but it’s still a reasonable amount that should last you the whole term. You will soon realise that all of your friends who live out have no student finance money left after paying their rent, and you feel like a millionaire compared to them because you don’t have to pay any living costs. This has its perks because it allows you to treat yourself sometimes with a shopping spree, enjoying a fancy meal somewhere or even treating any of your loved ones. I personally take advantage of all the leftover money I have after paying for my TfL Travelcard, because that’s all I really need to pay for that’s university related.
Overall, nothing beats going home to a fresh hot cooked dinner on the table and snuggling up in your own bed after a long day at university, whether that was in lectures or countless hours at the student bar!