Home Students and Freshers’ Week.

If you’re not living in halls, stumbling home with fellow students in the early hours getting to know new flat mates in a fresh and exciting city, University can be a very different ball game.

Living at home while you study is a choice more and more students are beginning to make. The trend is common in both Scotland and Northern Ireland and, as The Independent reported, the amount of full-time students who are studying at local universities has increased to 23% in England. For many millennials, the costs of moving away simply are not worth it, especially if you have a university such as Glasgow’s within less than half an hour’s reach.

However, increasing in numbers as the trend may be, there is no doubt that home students are still very much in the minority of the student body. The stereotype student experience – of late-night partying, leaving the pestering of parents far behind you and letting unwashed dishes stack high in the sink – is not the reality for those with concerns about taxi prices, daily commutes or asking new friends politely for a sofa to occasionally crash on. You may find yourself attending Freshers’ events with people you know from school and, while you can and should still make the most of the week, it can sometimes feel difficult to fully experience the traditional student life.

Yes, university is about so much more than those typical tropes and it’s true that every student experience is unique in itself but it is fair to point out that, for those living out with the uni halls, there can often be the sense that you’re missing out on something. Therefore, allow qmunicate to run you through the pros and cons of the home student experience and offer some tips on the ways to make the most of it…

  1. While the prices of a Zone Card may be ridiculous (wtf Scotrail?) A home student is likely to find themselves spared from the trauma of flat-hunting, rent prices and the cruel costs of heating in the winter months. Knowing that you have the comforts of home with all the trimmings of wifi, heating and electricity included can take a huge weight off your shoulders, it’s nice to know you don’t need to frantically flat-hunt and price check at exam time.
  1. There’s a lot of negativity to be said for the venture of the daily commute. Grumpy morning workers sitting with their rain-soaked jackets and umbrellas, delays and occasional cancellations of your train/bus and always (always) that one guy in the corner with their earphones too loud. However there are also ways to enjoy (yes really) the journey to and from uni. Sit back, plug your ipod in and catch your breath back from running full speed for the train/bus. Make seasonal playlists or take some inspiration from online blogs for the best tunes to make your commute something to look forward to. Take advantage of the time to catch up on reading or class preparation. Some students commute for over an hour to get to class, you could leave with no clue what to say in a tutorial and arrive with a fairly decent plan in order.
  1. Knowing Your City. Glasgow is huge. Well, in comparison to other parts of Scotland anyway. Exploring a new city is an excellent experience but starting university can be daunting in itself already without the fear of being in a whole new world. Home student tend to have the advantage of already knowing their way. You’ll feel free from the traps of the ‘west end bubble’, you can make friends with new folk by offering to show them around, you’ll also have the advantage of a good understanding of the infamous Glasgow slang. Living in or around Glasgow means you’ll have grown up with a view if the beautiful, gothic Glasgow University building. You are definitely entitled to take pride in the fact that you can now wonder through the quadrangles as a matriculated student (your younger self would be proud).
  1. Meeting people. It can be hard. Turning up to events, lectures, tutorials and finding people already all know one and other. Of course you may be a super confident , shining extrovert and the prospect to approaching groups of people may be breeze for you, but there will be many for whom the outsider role can feel intimidating. You’ve left your school environment where you knew everyone in class to a campus probably 1000x bigger to the school you’ve just left. Attend the fresher’s events with a plan to approach as many people as possible. You will always feel better for having made the effort to reach out rather than sitting quietly and wishing you’d joined in. Make use of your classes. In the weeks after Fresher’s people are always still keen to get to know one another. Strike up conversation with those sitting next you, arrange group study sessions together (they always turn into social events, sitting around eating Doritos anyway.)

[Tara Fitzpatrick – @TFitzpatrick25]

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