This post was written by an external contributor. Living at home can be a really smart move to save money while studying at uni. Rob Byrne tell us how to do it while still living the ‘uni lifestyle’ everyone talks about.
“You’re not getting the real experience!”
“That’s so lame! How are you gonna learn to be independent?”
“How are you even gonna make any friends?”
Above are a collection of genuine outbursts from friends, who were reacting in horror to my decision to do my degree at the local university and commute, rather than live in halls.
University is a rite of passage that many people navigate by moving out of their parents’ home, and going into shared accommodation. There are huge benefits to this, such as the independence you gain from throwing yourself out into the deep end. But perhaps you can’t, whether that’s due to financial reasons or because you live so close to campus that it’d be a complete waste of money to move. But maybe you’re worried that if you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind. Fear not, here are six ways to enjoy uni as much as anybody else if you’re living at home.
Don’t keep your eggs in one basket
By the end of the first couple of weeks, aim to establish some initial links in about three different circles. They don’t need to be totally separate circles, they can interlink, but you don’t want your only links to university social life to be contingent on a single group of people. You also don’t want to mistake the avalanche of drunken overfamiliarity for the formation of lifelong friendships. Eight out of ten of the people you meet in freshers’ week you will never hang out with again.
Make friends with people who can offer you a place to crash
There is some truth to the old proverb that if you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind. University life is a whirlwind of working hard and playing hard if you’re doing it right. So you should try and make sure you’re free and invited to some of the big nights out. Otherwise you’re depriving yourself of the opportunity to really bond with people outside of the classroom. Make sure you’ve got a couple of friends in the circle you build who are cool with you crashing.
Pursue non-alcohol related activities too
Some of the best times I had at university were alcohol-fuelled, I’d be lying to you if I said otherwise. But it wasn’t the be all and end all, you don’t remember half of it the morning after, let alone years later. So, I made sure that a lot of my recreation involved the deep, meaningful and sober conversations that weren’t centred around partying. I had movie nights, quiz nights, trips out to town, picnics, and those memories carry more intrinsic value than any of the inebriation.
Network through Facebook groups
Beware, if you post too much, people might think you’re a saddo. But there’s no harm in finding coursemates and even those interested in joining societies with you online. Arrange to meet or go out to some events together. I happened to find somebody who was also living at home and lived in the next town to me, and I count him among my best friends to this day!
Show up to societies
It’s easy to let the coursework take its toll on you, and if you’re working a part-time job on top to support yourself too, it’s entirely feasible that you won’t feel you have any time for societies. During Freshers Fair, you’ll probably pilfer tons of stickers, sweets and stationery, as well as pledge to go to about ten different welcome events, which you never will.
But in your first term at least, chill out, and make time for a few. Use your time wisely to find friends and show up to the events, as it’ll be harder towards the end of the year once a lot of people are settled in their social lives, and in second and third year you really should have built your circle of friends and be getting your head down.
Keep on top of your deadlines
Perhaps most importantly, make sure you’re ahead of your game with essays and reports. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you’re stuck in the library or at home frantically making up the word count while all your friends are finished and are having their big night off. Make yourself available and able to get to where the fun is as much as you can.