In the light of our return to university, I thought I’d take the time to reflect as it’s now my final year here at Queen Mary. I am a third-year student, studying English literature while living at home. My friend and I refer to ourselves as the ‘commuters’. We commuters are the students who come and go everyday without really engaging with the on-campus lifestyle – which meant we only really had each other. Not that I’m complaining! I love living at home with my family, my two dogs and my cat – really, I do. I love my king-sized bed and never take my bath for granted. However, I must say a part of me wonders, what it would have been like to be an on-campus student? A part of me wonders if I’m missing out on the ‘uni experience’ by choosing to live at home. But, it is only a small part! We live in London, where you can get buses and trains pretty much anywhere, leaving no part of the city unreachable. It took me some time, but I’m making the effort to now engage with the on-campus lifestyle while also being a student living at home. I’m making a conscious effort to meet new people and to make the most of the amazing city we live in. I spoke to an exchange student who’d come from Australia that made me realise just how lucky we are to be in the city we’re in. Even if its to go for a cheeky Wetherspoons with a few friends on the way to the station. I travel home on the train, while they go back to their accommodation. Really, it is no different than us getting two separate trains home.
I also wanted to address the whole notion that living at home while studying is cheaper. Sure, it is cheaper in terms of us having to not pay accommodation prices, but some of us (thankfully not me yet!) have to pay rent to those we are living with at home. Travel is also super expensive. It costs £5 a day minimum to get to uni and back. I also have to get up nearly two hours prior to my lectures to get there on time, due to the hustle and bustle of peak time travel. Sadly, this year I have two 9am starts (sobs). So, I assume most of you reading this are now frowning and wondering, why the hell don’t you just stay on campus? It’s expensive sure, but you’ve just pointed out so is staying at home. Those on campus have a better social life, surely? Better chance to meet new people, engage with those on different courses and just have the best ‘uni experience’. The answer to these very reasonable questions is super simple. It just wasn’t for me! And that’s okay. I’ve still met amazing people and have at least two good friends I’d most definitely stay in contact with afterwards. I’ve thankfully (though slightly late) joined CUB and will hopefully meet more amazing people in the upcoming weeks! In the end it is what you make it and I will leave QMUL having no regrets at being a student living at home in London.