UNI: MOVE OUT OR COMMUTE?

So the time’s finally come – you’ve finished college or your gap year(s) have come to an end and you’re off to uni. Congratulations!

Now what? You need to prepare, and one of the most important decisions you have to make is waiting to be answered: do you move out or stay at home and commute? Fear not, because this post is here to help you decide.

There are the obvious benefits of moving out like you get freedom and you learn how to become independent and stand on your own two feet, and there are the benefits of staying at home too, the most obvious one probably being that it’s a whole lot cheaper!

However, instead of creating another list of reasons why you should move out or stay home (I’ve been creating a lot of lists recently!) I asked the marvellous people of Twitter if they’d be willing to share their experiences. Here’s what they said:

For Moving Out

“Moving out was a huge step but it gave me so much independence, I absolutely loved the freedom and it helped my confidence and communication skills grow. It was the simple things that made moving out so fun – getting to choose what I made for tea each night, listening to music later than my parents would allow, just the small things in life… But financially, it killed me. My student loan barely covered my accommodation and I was left living on £20 a week – yes, it covered my food costs, but nothing else. It left me quite isolated from my flat and course mates who could all afford to go for meals together, go on nights out, or even treat themselves to new clothes, and for that reason I moved home after first year.” – Molly from The Beauty Room.

“Having lived in South London my entire life it was only when I was looking into prospective uni’s that I realised just how little of the rest of the UK I’d actually seen. I wanted to immerse myself in not only the university’s but the community’s culture. And so I opted for one of the furthest Universities I could find and ended up at Lancaster University –  a full 7 hour coach ride, and 45 minute train journey from home. Lancaster is an American style campus so many students live on site for the entire three years of their course. This is what I did and it is my only regret. Sure, strolling to lectures in your dressing gown without anyone giving you a second glance is great but moving out into the city would have giving me a better experience of life in Lancaster outside the Campus bubble.” – Laura  from LuckyPretty.

“For me moving to student halls wasn’t really much of a decision. Personally I would always recommend you go and stay at your university for two main reasons. The first is you make friends so quickly – you’re forced together with a group of people your own age and from different courses and because you are living together you become very close (in my experience). I would never have made the same friendships if I’d had to say goodbye every evening or been unable to go on nights out because I couldn’t get home.

My second reason would be you grow up very fast and learn a lot of things in your first year. Doing food shopping and cooking, balancing studying, housework and socialising is difficult but lessons you will need long after you leave university. In my first year I lived in a flat with 4 other girls in a big complex with 1000s of students. Honestly I wouldn’t change that experience for the world – I made friends who are irreplaceable. I don’t think I would have the same friends today if it wasn’t for that experience.” – Claire from G is for Gingers.

For Staying at Home and Commuting

“Having experienced living in halls, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything since moving home. If anything, I much prefer it. There’s bound to be at least one person in your flat who just don’t get on with (for me there was four of them… hell on earth, basically.) At home you’re not likely to experience that – I’ve found that as long as I pull my weight with cooking and cleaning, living with my family is fine. And as for the whole ‘experience’, living at home does not mean you miss out on that. Yes, it’s a totally different experience, but a better one! I have more than enough money to buy things as and when I like, go out for food and drinks as often as I want to, and most importantly, this year I have saved enough money by staying at home to travel to Thailand, Amsterdam, Dublin and Croatia – lucky or what!” – Molly from The Beauty Room.

“I think it really helps to get on with your family, which I always have done. I really feel I got the best of both worlds; I still managed to go out and hang out with friends, and live that side of the student lifestyle, yet had that extra support and ease of living at home. I lived about 30-40 minutes from University so it was quite easy to commute by bus every day, and we were in every day. Often when deadlines came around, I’d have to stay up late into the evening or all night in order to get projects completed.

The other great thing is that I saved quite a bit of money from my student loan. I didn’t get as large a student loan as my friends, due to the fact that I was living at home, and I paid my tuition fees out of it, as well as my books and materials I needed, but still somehow had extra left over, and I saved it up. I was able to use this to start my own business. I set up my own menswear label RUN&FELL after graduating. Since then, I’ve also launched a new label for women, Lawrenson.” – Naomi from NaomiJackson.com.

“I always knew I wanted to do a Masters but I wanted to make sure it was relevant to my chosen career. As such I worked for four years before delving back into education again. At that point I had to make the tough decision of whether to get a loan and go back to the fun of learning full time or to try and juggle full-time work, a mortgage and study. Eventually I made the decision to study for a part-time Masters at Kingston University. My choice was based on the fact that I couldn’t risk losing the flat I had just slaved to buy or the career I’d recently seen blossoming. Working full-time and studying at Masters level was one of the hardest things I think I have ever done but it also bought the most reward. I almost doubled my salary in that time, finished the course with distinction and my thesis was selected for academic publication. I think in many ways not being in that insanely fun university-life bubble meant I kept focus on the real reason for the qualification and excelled all my own expectations for my end-goal.” – Laura  from LuckyPretty.

I hope this helps you decide! If you’re at uni or have been before, what did you do and would you recommend it?

If you’re off to uni this September, will you be moving out or staying home? If you’re undecided, feel free to ask any questions and I’ll give you the best answers I can!

1 Week Mary x

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13 thoughts on “UNI: MOVE OUT OR COMMUTE?

  1. Great post, I’m sure this will help soon-to-be uni students! I’ve lived alone before and with my boyfriend (we are now back at his parents house) and as I’m at uni now, I am glad I’m at home. It was ok when we had our own place, but as soon as I cut back my hours it became more difficult to afford. I’d definitely recommend commuting as you can get a rail card and sometimes help with transport costs!

    Em x
    http://www.ohfab.co.uk • lifestyle & design blog • for fab custom logo & blog header designs visit: http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ohfab

  2. Great post! 😊 Since I moved country for university, I automatically had to move away from home. The independence I gained wasn’t much as I’d already learnt how to cook, clean and shop by helping out at home. The real difference for me was not having someone nagging you to get up and get out on time for classes! It scares me to think now how many 9am lectures I missed, and how many 11ams I skipped because making it to a 9am meant I was shattered by 11am…. Living in a flat with 3 others for second year certainly helped compared to the American dorm like system of my original halls where there were 10 people per kitchen and 5 kitchens per floor but no allocated flats. It was so easy to distract yourself from work needing done!

    1. Yess, I completely agree! It’s like “do I go to uni today?” Because you know you’re not going to get told off if you don’t go but you do need to go because you need to learn so much even if it is just one day!& omg that would’ve been so easy to not do any work! Aaah thanks for sharing Xx

  3. I feel like it was good for me to live on campus my first year/two years, but I should have been honest with myself knowing I didn’t feel like I was missing anything (as someone noted) and commuted. It’s a two-pronged thing with me though because that would also entail me transferring, which sometimes I still wish I did.

    1. A lot of people seem to think that even if you live at home you don’t really miss out! & aww, bless you, but just think – if you had, then you wouldn’t be where you are now. Everything happens for a reason 😀 thanks for sharing Xx

  4. Fantastic post! Thanks for sharing! I’ve been to Uni twice now, and commuted both times, but there’s always a regret at the back of my mind that I missed out on being a ‘proper student’. I guess it’s all down to what suits you at the time though! xx

    1. Thanks so much, I’m glad you liked it, & it’s definitely what suits you at the time, the most important thing is to not be pressurised into doing anything you don’t want to! Thanks for sharing, I bet you loved uni though! Xx

  5. Brilliant post!
    I myself had a similar problem of what to do for my final year of study – do I stay with housemates or move in with my boyfriend who does not go to University. I felt pressured that I should stay with my housemates by the ‘whole uni experience’ and that I should ‘live the uni life’, however, this did not make me happy, thus, I am going into my third year and am commuting as I live with my boyfriend. I already feel in a better place than I did this time last year and therefore, completely agree that it is what suits you!

    1. Yayyyyy this makes me happy! It’s so good that you didn’t give in to the pressure and do something that didn’t make you happy. I don’t think that staying at home/not staying in halls means that you miss out because you can always stay with a friend for a while and there’s so much going on that you can still be a part of, too! Good luck for your third year and thank you for commenting xx

  6. Great post! As a second year university student myself, I identify as one of the commuters! During the university application process, I was torn between getting the conventional “full university experience” by moving out and having to pay so much money as a consequence of moving out! Ultimately, I chose a school close to home for convenience which threw me into the life of commuting. I love that you have included experiences from Twitter! Their comments provide a fresh outlook on both sides of the “moving out” debate.

    One response really resonated with me, “I really feel I got the best of both worlds; I still managed to go out and hang out with friends, and live that side of the student lifestyle, yet had that extra support and ease of living at home.”

    I would definitely recommend commuting for these reasons! Having my parents constantly supporting me in combination with the ease of living at home (and sleeping in my own bed every night) has majorly helped me when I’ve hit the rough patches of university life! My family is always close by to offer support and guidance during times of stress and anxiety!

    In the end, both options provide students will a full university experience despite the conventional assumptions. What matters is that you make the most of your time.

    -Jessica
    I write about university as well, I would love if you could check out my blog: http://www.behindthetextbooks.wordpress.com

    1. So glad you liked it, thank you for reading! I 100% agree with you – ‘what matters is that you make the most of your time’ – I love that!!! I think both options definitely have pros & cons but it depends on the individual & other circumstances too, of course. I’m so glad you felt like you got the best experience & it’s definitely so helpful to have your family around you, especially during those extremely stressful moments, just knowing that they’re there makes it that so much easier. Thanks for your comment, I’m glad you enjoyed reading Xxx

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