Location, Location, Location: Studying at home vs studying in Lancs

Paying for a room I haven’t seen in nearly four months? Fun

Just days after we welcomed in the new year, Boris welcomed in some new lockdown restrictions. It was an unpleasant surprise, and threw a curveball for many of us. Do we return to a potentially empty flat or do we stay and work from home alongside the rest of our family? I made the choice to stay home, and in all honesty, the biggest difference I’ve noticed is in my finances. My mum could charge me for the room I use, but just cares enough not to – shame the same can’t be said for the uni.

The food

I look back on how naive I was before uni and laugh. I don’t know why I thought I could succeed as the only uni student that cooks three square meals a day. Pasta is my go-to now, and I’ve come to terms with that. I would love to boast about how I’m spoilt for choice at home, but I still cook for myself because my mum is vegan –  Chef Gabs’ tragic backstory revealed. As the head chefs, when me and my sister summon the energy, we can really impress ourselves.

Red velvet cookies, bang bang shrimp, roast dinners, a Chinese fakeaway, you name it. You just can’t achieve that same quality at uni when you’ve got 15 minutes to attend an online seminar that you nearly forgot about. I will, however, miss those boozy weekends in my flat, in the early hours of the morning when at least two, maybe three people have already been sick, and the mood is dipping quickly when someone pops the question: “Does anyone want Sultans?” I miss that. There isn’t a Sultans at home, and that is the real tragedy here.

The space

The best thing about uni accommodation is that you get to be an adult in training. You may be buying your own groceries and paying the rent by yourself, but you’re surrounded by people who are new to this too. You can crash course your way through life and you don’t have to do it alone! It also helps that if you feel like crying, chances are four other people in your flat probably feel the same way too.

On the flipside, my home is definitely my comfort zone. As much as I like my uni room, it’s still not familiar to me yet, I can’t really call it home. That being said, at least in Lancs I did have the choice of studying in different locations on campus. The closest I can get now is trying the different chairs around my dining room table, in attempts to convince myself it’s a change of scenery. Not to mention the fact that everywhere at home has already been explored – in Lancaster everything is still quite new, so being able to discover new spaces, and find some fresh scenery is being missed at the moment.

The people

As introverted as I am, lockdown made me realise I want to step out of my comfort zone. Somehow the optimist in me forgot that global pandemics don’t end in seven months. Trying to make the most of it, my flat has done movie nights, played innumerable games of Among Us, had dinner together and a few rounds of karaoke. It might not be The Sugarhouse experience we’re still waiting for, but it’s something.

Then again, am I as social as I could be? Absolutely not. I’ve missed my family, our inside jokes and our conversations but I’m also enjoying my own company way too much. It’s not exactly self love but it’s definitely some form of narcissism. That being said, I’m starting to miss my flatmates. At uni, there’s always something to do because people are always up for it. Whether that’s taking a walk around campus just to feel something or helping your intoxicated flatmate get an eyebrow slit. I just can’t get that same energy at home.

Studying at home isn’t for everyone, but it certainly isn’t the life sentence that a lot of people make it out to be. I still miss Lancs, though.

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