Whether you’re a prospective student or a hardened veteran of University, the question that at some point passes our minds is this: To commute or not to commute? If you have the (mis)fortune to live in close proximity to an establishment for higher education, the safety of home may tempt you. Arriving back to a freshly cooked meal and a stack of freshly laundered sheets sounds rather heavenly to me. However, rolling in from a night out at 4am with war paint streaked across your face might not elicit the best reaction from your family. Sometimes it’s safer to procure a friend in halls to platonically spoon in a narrow single bed, rather than face the wrath of parents.
Now imagine a quiet student flat, filled with nothing but the sweet sound of studying. Wait, that doesn’t sound quite right. The only time you encounter anything close to silence is when looming exams hover like a dark cloud, and the sweet smell of procrastination fills the air. You are more likely to find groups of adolescents, staggering in the throes of intoxication, bearing rolls of Clingfilm bought for the sole purpose of adding a little ‘decoration’ to someone’s bedroom. This, my friends, is the joys of living in university accommodation.
I am one student who faces the struggles and joys of living in such an environment. When I see the horde of commuters appear pasty faced and dark eyed to their lectures, I count myself lucky. With energy drinks clutched in trembling hands, they drink to forget the incomprehensible hour they had to rise and face the arduous journey to university. I may have been woken by a drunk flatmate cooking the entire contents of his freezer at 3am, while the commuters slept soundly, but let’s not mention that.
If I haven’t tempted you enough, let’s talk money. More than once you consider the possibility of selling your first-born child to afford the extortionate laundry fees. When you eventually see the impracticality of this idea, a speedy hand wash in the kitchen sink of your necessities becomes a regular practise. Furthermore, there is nothing more depressing than a fridge containing nothing more than out of date milk and an untouched, moulding broccoli. This leads dinner to be a miserable affair of beans on toast, or just beans if you find yourself lacking bread. A healthy and nutritious meal to fuel you for learning. If by some miracle you have procured more than the delicacies mentioned above, the possibility of it mysteriously disappearing is a strong one. That succulent pasta you were saving, is that really the amount you left? How about that carton of milk? You were so sure there was enough left to cover your bowl of cheerio’s. If you are lucky enough to have a food thieving flat mate, the ingenious ways you think of hiding food will boost your creativity and be a fantastic addition to the CV. However, no matter the cons of living in halls, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The freedom you gain is truly liberating, alongside the beauty of crawling out of bed half an hour before lectures begin and arriving with time to spare.
So, commute or halls? I can only answer this question for myself. I have found my best friends and a second home within my accommodation. Just know, that wherever you decide to live during your student years, they will be the best years of your life.
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