My Experience Of Staying At Home For University
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My Experience Of Staying At Home For University

Ellie-Rose Baker June 13, 2022

Considering moving away for university but not sure if it’s for you? Here’s my experience as a stay-at-home student.

A home bird

Growing up, I had never considered moving away for university. I was the first in my family to even go to university, and so I had never seen anyone else do it.

While filling out my UCAS forms at 19, I was suddenly faced with the choice: Should I stay or should I go? (Sorry, rock music fans).

I tried for weeks to talk myself into moving away, but being a non-drinker and a hardcore introvert, I just couldn’t picture myself in with, what I thought was the ‘normal’ university crowd.

Despite being called boring, and being told that I was missing an incredible opportunity, I stayed at home and did the 20-minute daily commute to university.

Financial Benefits

There were enormous financial benefits to my staying at home for university. The first and foremost is that my Mam didn’t ask for rent. I was also incredibly lucky in that I didn’t have to pay rent for a room that I wasn’t even living in because of the pandemic, like so many of my friends did.

This meant that I was able to save my student loan instead of having to pay out large chunks of it every month.

The ‘Student Experience’

Before the pandemic, I had one uninterrupted year to live out my best, introverted ‘student experience’. On my first day, I was terrified that I was going to be the odd one out. A chunk of my cohort had already met their flatmates, and each other, and had been to Freshers events together.

I found that my fear of being the odd one out just wasn’t founded. Even when a lot of my cohort already knew each other, I quickly found friends and didn’t feel at all excluded from the ready-made groups.

I began to recognise the positives of staying at home, feeling less self-conscious about it as the year went on.

I dodged Freshers Flu, had a beautifully clean, unshared kitchen at home to cook in, and was still a part of the halls community (I got invited to student Christmas dinner – yum!). Although I wasn’t living the stereotypical, wild ‘student experience’, I was living my student experience.

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Being able to revisit my home city through fresh eyes was cool too – I had never before seen parts of Cardiff that I’ve since visited with my uni friends.

Out of the cliquey environment of school, I realised that nobody cared that I hadn’t moved away, nobody thought that I was boring. I realised that I didn’t care, either.

My opinion

At 18, I didn’t feel ready to move away from home. I knew that I was capable of living alone, but didn’t feel emotionally ready. At the time, I felt pressured by my peers to move away. I’m glad I didn’t bow to that pressure (sucks to be them with their covid-instigated student debt).

This isn’t the only option

If you are finding yourself in a similar situation, know that this isn’t the big one. This isn’t the decision that will change the course of your life and your career. There are other options.

I am now facing a four-week summer school job with full accommodation. With my degree and my additional qualification to teach English as a second language, I also have the option to travel.

I have so many chances and will have so many more chances to live away from home, but in an environment that I can control. That is so exciting!

You can make these opportunities too. But for now, just do what is comfortable for you – the rest will come.

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Ellie-Rose Baker, alumni of the University of South Wales, is an almost adult, tackling the big wide world with an English and Creative Writing degree in one hand, and a cuppa in the other. A Freelance Journalist for Freshered, Ellie-Rose's primary focus' are navigating postgraduate life, climate change and literature. She also takes her writing inspiration from her other roles which include theatre ushering and English teaching.