Throughout the past week a couple of common themes have been cropping up, one being people assuming that I’m 18 (which is a big improvement on 15/16… not that I’m complaining) and I’ve had to politely say ‘actually I’m 21’, cue people looking gobsmacked and thinking I’m joking followed by awkward silences… then inevitably they ask what I’ve been doing for the last 3 years as if there’s nothing else for an 18 year old to be doing other than uni (insert eye roll here. Is it still a new concept for people to take time out of education?!) but I’d very briefly summarise anyway.
Another has been the whole living at home conversation, where everyone is sharing stories of flatmates and they turn and ask me ‘so, where are you living then?’ And I just reply with ‘well I’m from here so I’m living at home’ and that’s the end of that conversation! It’s probably not that awkward to be honest, most people on my course are a little bit older so live at home and commute anyway but when mingling with a wider group of uni students, it does set you out a bit.
So why did I choose to study in my home city and stay living at home?
Well, after looking at many universities over 3 years, I narrowed it down to 2 cities where I felt ‘at home’, which were Nottingham and Sheffield (to be fair the furthest I went north was Leeds and south was Birmingham).
As much as I can’t wait to travel the world, go to places I can’t even dream of and get lost wandering in countries where I can’t speak the language, I am very much a homebody and it takes me a while to settle into new places. I love my own space, I love my room and I love my home comforts.
Who wants to ditch that for student halls? (Sorry if you did!) I know there’s this thing about making friends but I figured I’d just put a bit more effort into it rather than giving up my own bed and for now, I’m glad have. There’s nothing like coming home from a sweaty student club night to peace and quiet, putting on the kettle and nestling into bed with a cup of tea (I truly do sound like a little old lady).
Also, being 21 means my parents have had time to get used to me not being home or not letting them know what time I’ll be in for because I don’t know so I don’t have that drive to leave because my parents are overbearing (basically, mum and dad, you’re far too nice to me) unlike what some people may have, especially at 18.
Going to uni a little ‘later’ than usual also means that my friends who did move away for uni have all moved back home now, so I don’t want to move away from them again just yet! I’ve had time to build my own little independent life, with friends, a church, a relationship and I’m honestly far too lazy to move all my stuff (do you know how many mugs I have?!) and start over somewhere entirely new!
Saying all that, it doesn’t mean I will never leave home, I’m thinking about moving into a house next year and who knows if I’ll ever leave Nottingham and make a home somewhere else! If I do, that’s great! And if I don’t, that also great!
There’s no pressure for you to leave home if you’re happy there and happy to go to your local university, especially if it has a good course for you! If you can make a bit more of an effort to go out there get involved and make friends, you’ll be fine!
Sometimes getting out of your comfort zone isn’t moving to another city or country, sometimes it’s just trying something new or switching things up a bit.