We asked the students in quarantine at uni why they chose a student house over home

‘We’re going to make a house Tik Tok account’

Students all across the country flocked home to their picturesque countryside houses to chill with their Nigella Lawson looking mums and Andrex puppy dogs this week – or at least that’s how it looks on Insta. They reluctantly abandoned their grimey student lifestyles to be quarantined in a place where they could be fed for free, and boy are they regretting it now we’re one week in. Can’t have no blems at mum’s, can’t stay up late, can’t drink tinnies in the garden at 1pm and certainly can’t get away with neglecting your uni work.

But a small group of students stuck around to live out their second term, even if everyone else has left. Committed households are still full, and people are still having pints in the sunshine and shagging their housemates, even in quarantine. Actually, especially in quarantine. We spoke to the students that stayed about why they picked uni over home, if they think they made the right choice and most importantly – is their mum not angry?

Bex, Newcastle, Second year

“Initially I decided to stay here before the situation got as serious as it is now, and was mainly because I knew I’d be spending the whole of my summer at home with my family so didn’t want to go back too early and get sick of being at home 24/7. I live in York, which is less than two hours drive away so if needed my parents could come to pick me up if I got stuck here with no public transport. I have a few international friends who are in Newcastle waiting for flights so I knew I wouldn’t be alone, and because my mum is high risk due to being on immunosuppressants I wouldn’t be able to leave the house at all if I went home, whereas when I’m living up here I can go out for a jog, go to the shops or visit my friends round the corner.

“I’ve also applied for a job at West Jesmond Tesco so that I can earn a bit of money while I’m here, which I wouldn’t be able to do if I was back home. I don’t regret it at all, particularly since many friends who have gone home say they’re already wishing they stayed at uni as being in a full family house 24/7 can get quite intense compared to a more chilled-out uni house! We had a few bevs in my back yard yesterday afternoon in the sun which was so nice.”

Ella, Birmingham, Third year

“I mainly decided to stay at uni because it’s easier than going home – my dad has breathing difficulties and if I went home I would have to isolate in my room before being able to properly see my family, whereas at uni I obviously have the whole house. I would have considered going home if I would have been alone at uni, but three of my housemates also are staying so that’s fine. Also, I’m not too sad about it as I’m final year and have loads of deadlines between now and the end of May, so I was only going to be home for less than a week of the Easter holidays anyway.

“Of the eight of us in the house, five of us are still here. It’s only been a few days and we’ve all got uni work so haven’t been doing anything too wild to pass the time, but we have gone a bit stir crazy. Most nights we’re watching Adam Sandler movies to try and distract ourselves from coronavirus, and we’ve got some plans like we want to try and make pancakes.

“However, one of the boys left in the house I have previously slept with after a couple of nights out, which is without a doubt the weirdest situation I have ever been in. Imagine sleeping with a housemate, and then being forcibly trapped in a house with them INDEFINITELY by Boris Johnson. If this isn’t a lesson to never shit where you eat, I don’t know what is. Saying that, I’m super super bored right now and would definitely go there again from the dramz. Equally, I would never go there because I don’t know how long we’re going to be stuck here for, and the only thing worse than being trapped with someone you’ve slept with is being trapped with someone who’s then rejected you. Plus, it would probably be super awkward for the rest of the housemates still here, because they’d definitely know. In a week or so I’ll probably be so desperate and bored that I won’t care any more, though.”

Joe, Coventry, Third year

“My house and I have had to quarantine at uni because of deadlines, we’re all third years so we’re all writing our dissertations and that, so going home didn’t really make a lot of sense, plus I know loads of people that have done the same so they’re sorta living it with me.

“In an attempt to stay sane we’ve elected one of our gym-going housemates to be like a personal trainer and we do workouts at 11am every day, so quarantine has probably not entirely been a bad thing for my overall health I can’t lie. Apart from semi-frequent calls home just so the fam know I’m still kicking and trying to scavenge a meal from the odds and ends left in the Tesco frozen aisle, we tend to fill our time doing all sorts of spontaneous bits and bobs. The other day we made Irish potato pancakes from scratch which occupied about three hours, we all got our toenails painted and we’ve also managed to create a sport out of a small foam ball and the living room walls (which will be presented by Sue Barker on prime time television very soon).

“If our mental capacity degenerates any further I think we’re going to have to resort to making a house Tik Tok account, so I’ll defo have to start practicing my renegades in the mirror. Overall the quarantine really isn’t that damning so spirits are high, plus it gives me very strong grounds for coursework extensions so I’m all for it.”

Phoebe, Manchester, Second year

“My choice to self isolate at uni was, in fact, not a choice at all. Despite persistent requests from my mother to return home immediately, I kept pushing my departure date back as I still had deadlines to complete. Following this, my house decided that we would have a final night of celebration together which meant that packing up my entire room the following day was absolutely not my priority.

“On Sunday, however, I got my act together and managed to pack up absolutely everything that I own prior to a 9am departure on Monday. Unfortunately for me, on Sunday night national lockdown was announced and now I am stuck in Manchester with all of my possessions still in bags.”

Rosie, Sussex, Third year

“Before everything really escalated I had very recently been back to London to visit home and see my family and friends. When I had planned to come back to Brighton everything was a bit uncertain but there was no restrictions in place yet so I drove back without any issue. It was only a matter of days before the entire country was on lockdown. I think at first I was just a bit in denial to it all, so I was determined to stay because being a final year I never imagined this would be how term ended, so by still being here in my Uni house I’m kinda holding on to whatever is left of my time at uni (I’m not ready to let go just yet).

“I think whether people stay is the domino effect really, as soon as enough people in your house say they’re going home then everyone will follow, but the majority of mine decided to stay so we decided to stick it out and attempt to finish our degrees and write our dissertations together here. It’s actually been better than we could have imagined, I like being able to cook for myself because it gives me motivation to get up and be productive, I’ve been FaceTiming my family everyday (21st century technology makes keeping in regular contact a breeze) and my uni house have been playing card games, cooking together, watching movies – it’s like a little isolation bubble but we’re all in the same boat so it helps having each other around.

“We’re also all so sad that we won’t have one final Pryzm Wednesday together so we’ve decided to bring Pryzm to our kitchen; we’ve got plastic cups, VK’s and we will be blasting those cheesy cheese room anthems all night long – isolation doesn’t always have to be boring!”

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