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Tips for students living at home during university

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Published: December 4, 2019

Hi, I’m Sarah and I’m in my second year at Sunderland, studying Media Production. I’m a student who travels from Gateshead to Sunderland for every lecture. I travel via the bus and metro to get to uni, so I understand the struggles of travel timetables very well, and the pressures of public transport when they go wrong. My blog post is to help those who feel peer pressured or feel like they are missing out on an experience because they chose to live at home.

People have said to me, “Sarah, come live in student accommodation! We’d love you to see more of you” “If only you were here” “You’re missing out”. I chose to live at home because I prefer my home comforts and felt like I wouldn’t be able to cope with the full independence without my parents being there. I want to express that students can still have fun at university here whilst commuting from home. Below are my best tips and pieces of advice for students in a similar situation to me:


Freshers and social life

I attended Freshers Week during my first year back in 2018 and stayed at my friend’s accommodation so I wouldn’t miss out on all of the events and opportunities that the university and SU experience had to offer. If you know someone staying in student accommodation, this is certainly worth doing as a week of crashing on air beds and sofas with good company really set me up for the year ahead. Doing this not only helped me gain confidence in speaking to new people but allowed me to form some new friendships. Living at home doesn't mean you have to miss out on Freshers and there are events to suit all interests. My Freshers experience allowed me to create memories that I will remember forever.


Making friends

Making friends when you don't stay in accommodation can be tricky, as you tend to not have as much contact time on campus. Once your lectures are over you tend to go home unless you have other plans such as studying. That's why it's important to make as much effort as you can with those on your course. Suggest grabbing a coffee with the person sat next to you after your lecture or create a study group where everyone can share notes. You never know, you may even find someone who travels on the same journey or a similar route to you. 

Another good way to make friends is to attend events held by the SU. Many of these tend to be social/ice-breaker type events so it's an easy way to get to know someone in a comfortable setting. 


Social media

Social media helped me to form relationships when starting university as I was able to directly find my fellow coursemates through online Freshers groups. I was also able to ask who else was commuting in and find others will similar interests to myself. Social media is a great tool to meet people and also allows you to keep up to date with what is happening on campus as well as find out about the latest events through the various university channels. It also allows you to stay updated with your friends and family as you transition into university life. 


Overall, as a student who commutes in, you can still have fun at university whilst maintaining your home comforts. There are many reasons why students stay at home, for some it is general preference and for others, it can just be a cheaper option. A little more effort is involved in establishing new relationships, but the payoff is worth it. Make use of all the opportunities on campus, join a club or society and get to know your local area. I do not regret choosing to stay at home and can understand that at times you can feel as though as you don't see as many people as you would like or feel as though it's a mission to head to an event but it is worth it. 

Have fun and I hope my advice was useful!


Sarah Akers

Topic: Student lifestyle