I went to university, I got my degree, I had a great time and I stayed at home. You don’t have to leave home to enjoy the university experience.
When you’re deciding whether you want to go to university there is a lot to consider: what course do I want to do, can I afford the course fee, will I be able to manage the workload and so forth. Possibly the biggest of these questions is where do I want to study and where will I live? Some people are very more than happy to start looking at the kind of locations they’d like to spend their next three-years in education; a big city, by the sea, in London… there are several options. However some people prefer to look closer to home, I know this for a fact because I was one of those people.
A number of my friends moved away from our Birmingham roots to gain their degrees: one friend left for Liverpool, another to Sheffield, one to Cardiff and one to Gloucester. They obviously moved to live on or around the campus during their studies. However, I chose to stay more local. I chose this for many reasons, some were financial considerations, for example I didn’t take up the option of a student loan as I was concerned about the debt I could end up with. Also, at the time, I was quite an introverted character. I was 18 and didn’t feel in my element meeting new people and trying new things. While my time at Uni did change this, I knew it could be detrimental to my studies at the time if I had moved away. I felt much more comfortable staying in my hometown and commuting to a local university, luckily that university was one of the leaders in my chosen field of study anyway.
Looking back, I occasionally think I made a mistake not leaving my hometown for uni. I think of the life experience I could have gained from living away from home like cooking, managing my budget, meeting new people, seeing and experiencing new places and the warm feeling of returning home during the holidays. But at the time this wasn’t for me. I knew I’d have to work hard during my studies and remain focused to achieve my goals. I’m now sure I made the right decision. It’s set me on a sound financial footing having very little university debt compared to my friends, which was good as the bottom fell out of the economy the day after they handed me the scroll.
Don’t get me wrong, moving away for university is great. The community feel of halls, the excitement of living with your friends, the freedom and independence that comes with living on your own and the experiences you gain as a result. But it’s not for everyone. So if you’re considering staying local for university, don’t let your friends moving away dissuade you. There is still lots of fun, experience and benefits to be had from staying local. You can also show everyone else where the best places to visit are.