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Living at home for university

  1. Aug 18, 2013 #1

    I'm going to be starting university this September and I'm having troubles deciding whether or not I should stay at home, or move into university halls. The distance from my house to the university is 40 minutes, 5 minute walk to train station and 35 minute train.

    I originally wanted to stay at home to save money, but I keep hearing that I will miss out on a lot of events and wont be able to have a good social life if I stay at home, and may find it hard to make friends. I have no interest in parties, and would rather just study and then go into finance later on, or academia if I'm good enough, so staying at home seemed like the best option for me.

    Has anyone ever been in this situation? Any advice would be really helpful.

    Oh, and the university is in London.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2013 #2


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    My university is a 15 min bus journey away from my house or a 35-40 minute walk. Like you, I don't have much interest in parties (but I still go out to play pool at the weekend). I actually prefer to stay at home and given that I live so close, it really helps as well.

    In terms of making friends, etc.. I found it hard to begin with but after a couple of weeks, I began to recognize people at the lectures and tutorials. My university also offered a sort of shadowing scheme preliminary to the fresher week, so I applied to that and I am still in touch with a couple of people who were there.
  4. Aug 18, 2013 #3
    Do you regret not moving out at all?
  5. Aug 18, 2013 #4


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    I am about to enter my third year of a 5 year undergraduate programme in the UK. At the moment, I am thinking that I may pursue a PhD elsewhere and so I'll have to move out then.

    I suppose it comes down to a personal choice in the end, but the finances are obviously a major consideration.
  6. Aug 18, 2013 #5


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    I highly doubt you'll have trouble making friends - assuming you wouldn't otherwise have trouble making friends.

    There are SO many opportunities for socialization at university it boggles the mind. There are clubs for just about any activity you can think of (and if there isn't, you have the opportunity to start them), recreational sports teams, activities/lessons you can sign up for like various martial arts, dancing, or volunteer positions, student jobs, or student government. Many universities also have some kind of "off campus student society" for students who live off campus, who want to experience the same kind of social opportunities they would get in residence.

    Sure there might be some things you will miss out on. Some of them will be fun. Others will include:
    - neighbours with brand new stereo systems
    - neighbours with video game consoles hooked up to brand new stereo systems
    - room mates or flat mates who have a different definition of clean than you do
    - parties that go on until three in the morning when you have a mid-term the next day
    - privacy issues when you want to bring that special someone back to your place
    - privacy issues when your room mate wants to bring that special someone back to your place
    - drama when that special someone is the same person
    - opportunities to place someone into the "recovery position" after they've passed out in their own vomit
    - neighbours who will smoke (both legal and illegal substances) outside your window
    - the mid-September virus
    - etc.

    There are lots of other reasons to move out of your parents' place though (freedom, privacy issues with that special someone who you're not quite ready to introduce to your mom, independence, etc.) and those can be extremely important for some people.

    If the ONLY thing that's bothering you about staying home is that you might be missing out I would highly suggest that you try living at home for a year. If you feel really lonely by your second year, you can always try to get on campus later.
  7. Aug 23, 2013 #6
    This made me feel a lot better, thank you.
  8. Aug 23, 2013 #7
    Good post, haha.
  9. Aug 23, 2013 #8
    I have almost the same situation as you and I live in Alberta, Canada. I am 5 minutes from a bus which takes 35 minutes to get to the university.

    I'm also staying at home. I don't think you will miss out on much. I've taken a math review class this week and next week at the university and I've managed to meet some people. I don't know how England is but I think you have a more social culture than Canadians. (Just a guess) So you will get to know people soon.

    Hopefully as the work increases the 40 minute journey doesn't become a big headache. That is my only concern.
  10. Aug 23, 2013 #9
    Just out of curiosity did you both live at home?
  11. Aug 23, 2013 #10
    I live alone off campus. I think that's really the best environment for a college student. They want you to stay on campus for a year when you first go to university because they say that's the best learning environment. I disagree. I think if you're motivated, you have a lot better chance of doing well when you're living alone off campus than on campus. And if you're not motivated, then living on campus would seem to be a good way to get distracted and just exacerbate your lack of motivation to study.
  12. Aug 23, 2013 #11


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    Over my years as a student I lived in:
    - a dorm-style residence (1st year)
    - apartment style residence (2nd year)
    - rented a house off-campus with six other guys (3rd and 4th year)
    - back into an on-campus apartment style residence (MSc and early PhD, different school)
    - my own 1 bedroom apartment (latter PhD)

    I also has a part time job as an auxiliary officer with campus five oh for about four years during graduate school. I got to see the good, the bad and the extremely ugly sides of residence life.
  13. Aug 23, 2013 #12
    I lived both in halls and at home during my time at university so I'm one of the rare people that have experience of both. In my honest opinion living in halls is the better choice than staying at home in almost every way, apart from financial.

    I was initially planning to stay at home for the whole of university, but one day in May after I had finished my last school exams I just said to myself, "**** it I'm moving out", and it was the best decision I ever made.

    I moved back home after first year for financial reasons and it was definitely one of my poorer decisions.

    I could write a long post on the benefits of moving out (although perhaps not at 2:15am), but based on my experience I will almost always recommend moving out.
  14. Aug 23, 2013 #13


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    I knew several people that lived from home during college. Most of them complained about it and wish they had lived on campus or could afford to live on campus.

    No one I knew that lived on or around campus wished they lived back home.

    I was going to live at home as an undergrad, since my family lived very close to where I went. I decided at the last minute to live on campus. I like to think it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I don't know precisely what would have been different if I lived at home during college, but I do have a very strong suspicion it was helpful to live alone for a few years. I think living at home wouldn't have prepared me as well for living hundreds of miles away from any family while in gradate school.

    I do think living on campus is a luxury. If it's a large burden, I don't think it's worth it.
  15. Aug 24, 2013 #14
    I spent the majority of my college life in my own apartment. I lived in a dorm in my freshman year, then a house on-campus with friends, and eventually 2 hours' train ride away in an apartment on my own.

    Personally, if I could go back in time to change my decisions in any way, I would have made the same choices except perhaps find an apartment that was less than 2 hours' train ride away. Reasoning: A dorm is a great way to establish early, fast relationships in your freshman year. The value of that decreases in the second year as you start to settle into your own, other communities within the college. Though this isn't a metric of social well-being or happiness, it's nevertheless the most quantitative I can give: My facebook friends tenfolded in my freshman year. I wouldn't throw that away. Living on my own was the best experience thereafter. I felt freshly empowered with the challenges of paying my own rent and bills, planning my own meals, doing my groceries, plunging the toilet bowl, cleaning the mold. It launched me to adulthood and gave me the independence to start my own firm. And yes, bringing that special someone to your own place does give you a strange sense of achievement that you can't erase. ;)

    Commuting for 2 hours each day was something I only had the discipline to stay positive about for half a semester. It felt adventurous at first - living in a different city from all of your friends. It felt like I was living an exciting double life. I had planned my schedule very carefully so I only had to do it between 3-4 times per week. It got very tiring eventually.

    If I had to give a back-of-the-envelope estimate of how far you should be able to tolerate living away from campus, I'd say YMMV but maybe 30 minutes by train, 45 minutes by car, and also try to plan your schedule so you only had classes on 4 out of 5 days, OK? Also, school is not something to avoid... you're paying to be on campus. I once did a calculation and realized that each day I'm not in school, I was losing hundreds of dollars. Imagine buying an iPad each day and giving it away immediately. So whatever you do, try to spend more time there. (I know this sounds like conflicting advice, since I'm telling you to structure time away from school while telling you to spend more time in school. The correct balance is probably inbetween, with longer days and more social involvements to compensate for the missing day.)
  16. Aug 24, 2013 #15
    Hi there,

    I'm going into the fourth year of a physics MSci program in London, and I have lived at home the entire time. I do not feel I have missed out whatsoever. With travel links being so easy in London there is no reason to miss out. I have roughly the same commute time as you as do most students in London as it is simply too expensive to live much closer. Also you'll have more money spare to go out than most :-)

    If you do decide to stay at home I would suggest you make an effort to join some societies and go out with people as it is easy to segregate yourself from 'uni life' and fell isolated. Also most unis have live at home social events, so look out for these in freshers week.
  17. Aug 24, 2013 #16


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    Can you explain what you mean by this?
  18. Aug 24, 2013 #17
    If you're paying $2,700 per course that spans 28 classes, then missing a day with 5 classes from different courses is equivalent in cost to buying a brand new electronic gadget and throwing it away.
  19. Aug 26, 2013 #18
    Something to note is that my uni is not a campus university, so I'm not sure if all that's said about moving away actually applies.
  20. Aug 27, 2013 #19
    I started university last year, and I found living away from home very dull, although living at home is dull in a different way. But that's because I didn't really have any friend. However, I was glad to get away from home.
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