University is undoubtedly one of the best things I’ve done. Looking past the 4am breakdowns, lectures on things that aren’t relevant to my course and some insufferable tutors, I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t there. As much as I hate to say it, I kind of love it. Kind of. Sometimes.
It seems like a lifetime ago when I was back in school, aged 17 and deciding on my future. I always knew I wanted to go into further education and university seemed really appealing to me. After scouring endlessly through piles of university prospectus handbooks – I finally decided on my five options. Five courses across 3 Glasgow Universities. I made the decision that I wanted to stay at home for university. I always sort of knew I wanted to stay home anyway – I love Glasgow and the course I wanted to do (and ended up doing) was at a Glasgow university, I didn’t want to leave my job, I didn’t want to leave my family, I have my friends here, the list goes on. On top of this, choosing my final options came at a time where I didn’t think I could have justified leaving home and moving to a different part of Scotland.
My parents had recently split up and I was living with my mum and brother. I didn’t want to leave my mum on her own – naturally, I felt somewhat vulnerable at this time and I knew I’d need the comfort of home. It was as simple as that. Still to this day I do not regret my decision one bit. Frankly, I’m glad I stayed at home. I jump on the train for half an hour every morning, coffee in hand, hair definitely not brushed, eyes somewhat closed and can be at uni within about an hour. When I finish my day, I come home to a cosy and warm house, a full fridge and cupboards and I don’t have to put up with potentially annoying house/flatmates. I don’t need to worry about paying rent or how I’m going to make my loan last til the next payment date. I don’t mean this to sound like I am totally dependent on my mum – I’m quite the opposite. It’s all down to personal choice I suppose.
Understood, some people want to leave home for university to pursue a particular course or to gain some independence by living alone. A lot of people I went to school with were just about itching to get away, which I can totally understand. A new sense of independence and freedom is pretty appealing, especially as a teenagers who have undoubtedly been told what to do everyday for the past 17 years of their live. I’m in 3rd year of university now and I honestly think if I had moved away that I’d have been perfectly fine. I can cook, I can clean and all round look after myself but I’m too much of a homebody to even want to move away and it’s just not something that was ‘for me’.
What I don’t necessarily understand though, is why this means these students who move away from home are the only students that have THE ‘university experience’ or a heightened or superior ‘university experience’. How do you describe a ‘university experience’ when it means different things to different people? Usually when people talk about their university ‘experience’ – they talk about it as if it is some mildly anarchic out-of-body experience. Really what they mean is ‘I got drunk at pre drinks on the cheapest vodka, probably fell over a few times and came home at 5am and STILL went to my lecture still half drunk’.
I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I can still go out and get sh*tfaced on £1 drinks at student nights if I want to, I can live off of pasta for weeks on end if I want to, I still have breakdowns in the library just like any other student, I can decide to stay tucked up in bed if I can’t be bothered with lectures one day – just like any other student.
I made a decision to stay at home while studying for my degree. It certainly doesn’t lessen my university ‘experience’ and just because someone else made the decision to leave home doesn’t make their experience any better. I’m comfortable at home and honestly, there’s no place I’d rather be.