University. It's about meeting new people, living on a diet of baked beans and getting as far away from your parents as possible. Isn't it? Not anymore.
Increasingly, more and more students are opting to live at home, be it for their undergraduate or postgraduate degrees, reaping the economic benefits as well as enjoying the home comforts.
Other European countries have long encouraged studying at a University in your home city, where moving away is almost a last resort. And they don't even pay the same extortionate fees that students in England do. So should British students take heed from the continental cousins?
I am in my final year at the University of Manchester, in my own city of Manchester. I did apply to universities away from home, the furthest being London. But I stayed put. I can't say that I predicted the future and knew that in the long run I'd be making a good choice personally, but coming to the end of my degree has definitely emphasised how much money I have saved and what pros I have gained from staying at home.
The perks I found throughout my time at university were that I never had to do a food shop. My meals were cooked. My sheets were cleaned (though don't be fooled into thinking parents will let you have too much of a free ride - helping around the house will become part of the routine too). Any money I did earn through part time work, really was my own money to spend or save. Which in turn meant I could save without turning to a loan for my Erasmus placement in Barcelona. A hint of pride at my own motivation for doing this. Though it doesn't all come to down to the money.
What about social life, I hear most students cry? That's a personality trait. I know of students that, if it wasn't for moving into halls, they really don't feel they could have integrated into university life. But for those who don't, consider joining societies of your interest, start your own groups, and just simply be active and involved in your own degree seminars and lectures. After all, that's the first point of call isn't it, students on your course surely have that same basic interest.
In the NUS Experience report of 2010, a fifth of students would turn towards living at home with parents over the coming years during their course. Ever-increasing is the trend of students having lived away for their undergraduate degree returning to the nest for another year of postgraduate study or search for paid work. But can you blame students? The Guardian recently wrote that four out of five parents fear their children will leave home later than they did, but why fear? The current economic climate refuses to aid students in any way.
Mounting debts and low job prospects means that the only way to simmer the situation for many students is by staying at home.