The last year of College can be one of the most stressful years of your life. You come back from summer, eagerly anxious to turn eighteen and start going out like you always imagined student life would be like. However, upon returning to college, expecting another laid back year of simple lessons, essays and exams, you are instantly struck by the reality that is, you are getting older and it is time to decide your future. That is exactly the kind of decisions you are faced with, ones which may dictate the rest of your life, do you want continue study or do you want to go straight into work? What career do I want to pursue? Which university do I want to go? Do I want to stay at home or do I want to move out? For many these kind of decisions can be too much and as a result pile up like a landslide ultimately leading to a lot of stress. These decisions however do not have to be stressful as the following three years after completing college will more than likely be the best years of your life, additionally there are so many people out there who had to face these same decisions at the same period of their life and can help guide you into making the right decision for you. Today I am going to tackle and dissect one of these big questions and help illuminate the pros and cons of staying at home for university or moving way.

As a student, I was lucky enough to experience both living at home and moving into halls and then into a flat in the centre of the city, therefore I was able to get a deep insight into what exactly is appealing and what is distasting about both experiences. Let me start with staying at home.

One of the predominant reasons someone might want to stay at home is due to family and friends. I myself found this to be a fundamental factor. I had recently established a new social group of friends and didn’t have any interest in losing them due to not being around enough. However, I soon realised I had made the mistake of misjudging everyone else’s current situation. Many of these people went off to different universities of their own and many also started working full time, I soon realised that this social group was slowly going to be separated by the simple progression of life, and I was only going to see many of them during the holidays. It is important to realise that you will meet many new people at university and your true friends and family will always be there for you when you return home.

Another fundamental factor in deciding to stay living at home is for financial purposes. Imagine receiving a maintenance loan whilst having to pay little living costs because you haven’t moved out. For many, this will be the first time you have ever had access to a substantial amount of money and it will feel astronomical. This is undeniably an incredibly appealing factor, however I feel I must stress that this one simple factor should not dictate such important decisions.

During my second and third years of university I moved into the town centre and instantly realised the cons of staying at home for my first year. I had spent too much time out of campus, consequently other students had already formed friendships and I had segregated myself too much too early and had been left out. Additionally, I had not bothered to involve myself with organised activities which is all part of the ‘uni lifestyle’.

The most important part of moving out for university is to fully appreciate the student lifestyle. Living in the centre of a city filled with other students is an overwhelming experience that is incredibly fun and filled with many adventures, however it is easy to lose concentration and you will notice many who prioritise going out over studying. Many overspend their student loan, find themselves penniless and are forced to apply for overdrafts much earlier than ever intended, if intended at all. Many party too much and find themselves missing too many lectures and seminars resulting in failing to produce required work. It is important to find a right balance thus to experience the lifestyle but to also realise that you are there to fulfil your potential and show off your academic skills and achieve your degree. I noticed when I moved into the town centre I made much more of an effort to meet new people and found myself going out a lot more. It was not till the end of second year I realised my grades were slipping and I needed to prioritise what was important.

Another important aspect of moving out is experiencing living independently. For many this might be difficult at first but you will soon realise you are more than capable of being independent from your family. It is important learn these life lessons and realise your capabilities and that you are in fact more than able to look after yourself. I was always lazy at home and never contributed to the running of the household. Moving out forced me to learn skills I never thought I would have to use for a long time, even if those skills are merely realising there is no way I can leave the kitchen in such a mess.

Ultimately, I feel it is essential to experience moving out of your home to experience what living the student life is all about, whether that be simply moving into the centre of your current city or moving cities completely, both will allow you the freedom to grow, learn and live the lifestyle. It is important that you make the right decision for you.