I spent my first and second years of my degree living in student accommodation. The first was on-campus at Clarice Cliff Court in a flat of 6. My second year has been in a privately-rented student house of 4 that is right next to my lecture buildings. But for my third and final year of BA (Hons) Photojournalism, I am moving back in with my mum, my younger brother, my dog and my tortoise.
So why am I making this choice? Let me explain.
So one of the factors that informed my choice to study at Staffs was that the campus is 20 minutes from my home by both car and train, so I had actually planned while I was in Sixth Form that going to Staffs would give me the two options of living independently and living at home during the course of my degree. I suppose I did this because I’m quite a homebody and I am close to so many members of my family that I find it hard to be away for long periods of time. I wanted to be able to choose where I was based every year, rather than be tied down by distance. That and my dog. I miss my dog a lot.
Learning to be independent
One of the best things by far about living in student accommodation is how you are forced to learn how to be independent and live by yourself, but in a fun way. What could be better than being given an interest-free loan three times a year to spend however you want? Sure, you may go mad on the Amazon deliveries at first given all the Lockers dotted around the accommodations on-campus but this is all part of the learning curve, and it will hit you when you move home at the end of your first year just how much you’ve changed. I feel this way now and have for a long time, so I don’t think I need to live independently anymore to learn anything else. Plus, I want to cook in a kitchen that doesn’t have a smoke alarm right next to the hob. So there’s that.
One of my biggest struggles during my first and second years whilst living at Uni was how much I missed my family. Luckily, with how close the train station is to campus, I have been able to go home every single weekend this year, but I know that is the bare minimum for me. My family has changed a lot since I started at Staffs – I have a little sister now for one – so I want to be at home at this stage rather than living with other students. Don’t get me wrong, it has been mostly fun and a positive experience, but I have a place at home.
One thing I’m sure every current student would relate to is the fact that the rent I have paid both for University-managed accommodation and to a private landlord has contributed to my decision to move home. The main expenses I will have is car parking and/or train tickets when I live at home, but this will never come close to the weekly rent I have been charged in the past. Even if I still buy my own weekly food shop at home, I will still be better off.
So these are my reasons for why I’m moving home for my final year. If you’re reading this and still considering which University you want to go to, maybe keep a few of these things in mind. If you’re anything like me, don’t go to University in Wales when you live in Scotland.
Do everything you can to make sure you get the most out of being a University student.