With living costs becoming more expensive, the number of students staying at home has gone through the roof (pun intentional). But how easy is it to juggle nights out when you’re getting constant texts from worried parents?
Source writer Laura gives her top tips after four years of living with Mum and Dad. Click on the image below to read the article on the Source Magazine website.
The key is balance
When I started university, I got off to a bit of a rocky start. Because of my stay-at-home situation, I didn’t want to miss out during Freshers’ Week… so I literally went to everything. Sports inductions, DJ sets and society open evenings – I did it all. So you can understand why my mother (and my purse) was considerably concerned as I repeatedly returned to Argyll and Bute by 3am taxi service (yes, really). By the end of Freshers’, my parents and I had fallen out. Where was I until the early hours? Why couldn’t I send the odd text? To be honest, I was just having too much fun.
As the semester wore on, the socialising cooled down. I found I was spending most of my nights in the library – exams were just around the corner. Heavy partying was just no longer feasible (much to my mum’s delight, as she actually knew where I was every evening) and I enjoyed escaping back home. It was quiet – none of the shouting that my friends in halls reported, so loud that they could barely study; my dinner was waiting for me when I got off the train; I wasn’t confined to a box room to revise.
If, like me, you’re living at home, Freshers’ Week is tricky. It may be the first time that your family hear of you out at clubs, socialising with strangers and wandering round the dark city streets. My top tip? Just let them know that you’re okay. A text that says, ‘I’m still alive and will be back at midnight’ really will work wonders.
Help make meals
It’s very easy to fall into laziness when you live at home. When you go to university or college, you may feel like you’ve suddenly attained an adult persona – but at home, you still act like a child. Your favourite meal is placed in front of you; your washing is rotated, dried and ironed without any effort on your part; dirt and rubbish magically disappear from the shady corners of your bedroom. At some point in the near future though, you’ll probably be leaving home. Whether it’s into a flat when you’ve saved up some money, or travelling abroad to work, it’s imperative that you know the basics of cooking. Your parents will thank you for giving them even the smallest helping hand in the kitchen and you can learn from them in return. ‘Every little helps’, remember (thanks, Tesco).
Insist on your freedom
Although living at home undeniably involves a fair reliance on your parents, it’s important that you seize your new-found independence. During semester one, you’ll solidify fresh friendships and may spend your weekend visiting new mates rather than staying in the house. Make sure that you get your own key if you haven’t already to ensure you can come and go as you please. And communicate! Parents or guardians might not have attended college or university and don’t understand the social or studious pressure that’s involved. Tell them that you’re off to the library to swot up and are meeting a friend afterwards for some much needed gossip-therapy. Explanation is worth far more than silence.
Find a friend with a flat
You can’t spend the whole year going back and forth between home and campus in an early morning taxi: it’s just not practical. I was lucky enough to join a society where I met a lot of fantastic friends, and guess what? Some of them had flats near my uni. This made it a million times easier after nights out together: we’d head to the bar or club then I’d crash on their sofa. In the mornings, I’d wake up pretty groggy but drag myself to a lecture nonetheless. The tiredness was worth it: it saved me money, plus the hour-round trip home, and I got to spend more quality time with my mates.
Don’t forget how lucky you are
If I had a pound for every time I was pitied by folk that live in halls… ‘I bet you don’t meet anyone living at home.’ ‘Do you ever go out partying?’ In first year, I did go through the odd lonely times when these remarks seemed a reality (one day, I didn’t recognise a single face in my lecture; another day I travelled to town and back on the train without talking to a single person). Now though, I can look back and laugh. I’ve got friends from societies and classes who I meet up with regularly, and there’s so much work that I don’t have time to party. I might even feel sorry for halls students. By the time exams roll around, they’re bemoaning the noise, the mess, the stress of their situation. In exceptional cases, a whole floor of students would fall out with each other over the opposite sex, untidiness or late-night commotion. I didn’t have to deal with any of that. The worst thing I encountered? My brother’s farts… Really.
Feel free to contact Laura via Twitter (@laretour) if you have any stay-at-home questions.