As soon as you get the confirmation that you have been accepted into university, your mind goes all over the place - planning what you will do. For many, it is sorting transport and moving away to your very own place. However, the side of this journey that is not always seen is those who decide to stay home, like me. When I got accepted to the University of Manchester, I knew immediately I was going to stay home. I am not a very adventurous person and have never even left Manchester without my family. I had no idea staying at home would be an adventure in itself. My name is Faryal and I live at home with 8 other people whilst studying Law at the University of Manchester.
The Ups and Downs of Living at Home
Staying at home does have many positives. I do not have to pay rent, bills and I do not need maintenance loans. I help at home when I can but it costs considerably less than having my own place. Travelling to university comes at a cost but compared to travelling home on the weekends, it is much less. I personally believe staying home has helped with my mental health, being surrounded with people I am comfortable with and have lived with my whole life.
Staying at home, however, is not all money-saving and family time. It does come with its struggles. Peace and quiet are pretty much non-existent in my home. It is also more difficult to make friends when you do not live with other students. Travelling to university can be hectic in itself as there are specific times you must be there and busses coming on time is as rare as sunny British weather. The biggest issue is definitely how to make the most of university when living at home, how to live the true university experience.
How to Make the Most of Uni
These disadvantages can be overcome. I cannot stress the importance of these tips and wish I really took full advantage of the opportunities. The most obvious way is to join a society or volunteering. Freshers Fair at the University of Manchester is full of societies signing up new members. There really is a society for everyone. The best thing about joining a society or volunteering is you are surrounded by people with the same interests as you, whether it is Mixed Martial Arts or Accounting you are interested in. The Manchester Students’ Union lists all sorts of different societies. Listing the societies you are interested in as well as being spontaneous and trying something new is the best way to go for Freshers.
Seminar groups really push you to meet new people. The best advice I could give is when you talk to people in your seminar group, ask for a way to contact them. Whilst you may seem shy, they probably want to ask you the same thing.
As a home student, seeing other students already knowing each other, it could really affect your confidence, not only in making friends but also speaking to people in general. During the beginning of my first year, I found myself barely participating or asking for help. It is so important to push yourself within the first few weeks to participate in seminars and ask for help when you need it because you can then fall into a habit of being withdrawn and quiet. It can be really daunting at first and you feel like everyone is watching you but it soon becomes second nature. It is so vital to ask for help when you feel your mental health is not the best it could be. The University of Manchester counselling support is amazing and really can make the difference. University is such a special experience and getting into university is a fantastic achievement so you should really make the most of it.
One thing I love about the University of Manchester is the campus. The greenery, the libraries are all great places to spend your time. Instead of rushing straight home, go to the library or even take a walk around the campus and just enjoy the experience.
Staying at home is as ‘boring’ as you make it. It can really be the best experience if you take full advantage of all the opportunities you have. For me, whilst the beginning of university was really difficult, once I pushed myself and became more social around the university, I really loved it and cannot wait to start my next year, surrounded by my family when at home and by friends when at university.
- Student Union - https://manchesterstudentsunion.com/groups?group_type=club-society-782
- Counselling Service - https://www.counsellingservice.manchester.ac.uk/
- Getting the most of university - https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/advice/student-blog-five-tips-make-most-your-university-experience