By Lois Ponsford, MA Multimedia Journalism.
As a student at Sheffield Hallam, I spent my undergrad and now my postgrad living at home. I am fortunate in that I already lived in a city with two great universities that offered courses I wanted to study. I’ve had a great 4 years living at home whilst studying and saved money too. So, if you’re thinking about living at home whilst studying, here are some tips that have helped me along the way.
Living with the folks
First of all, you will have to show common sense when it comes to the relationship with those you’ll be living with. If you get along with those in your household, and feel they will support you, give you your space to study and respect your studies, this is an ideal scenario. However, say you live in a busy household, or you feel you’re under pressure to help at home more than others, this could be an issue and distract you from working, so perhaps it would be worth talking it through with those in your household or going to the advice centre in The Hubs or seeing if student accommodation would be the right move for you, by visiting Accommodation Services at Hallam, just opposite the main entrance to Owen building.
Another important one, money. Some parents won’t charge you for board, but it’s worth discussing it with them and it may be something to consider in your budget. You can still apply for money to support you whilst living at home through Student Finance – this covered me for travel expenses, food and a night out or two every few weeks. A mistake I made in first year was going to Meadowhall Student night and going on a big shopping spree in the first few weeks of freshers; I was skint for weeks! It might also be important to think about food costs. Will your parents be buying in your food or will you be doing your own big shop each week? Student Finance can help you with money costs and you could be eligible for a bursary or funding, so it’s worth checking this out with them. They can give you advice on this, as well as how to save money.
Getting to and from Uni can be very easy if you live in halls or the city centre, but if you’re living at home, you may be a bus, car or train ride away. I live around 20 minutes from Uni, and in my first and second year I would get the bus in or walk. The bus price is only £1.20 for a student ticket, so this is a cheap and stress-free way to get to lectures. There are so many convenient bus routes that stop close to Hallam and leave from most student areas such as Ecclesall Road, Crookes and Bramall Lane.
The Uni also offers a free shuttle bus from Collegiate Campus to City Campus throughout the day, which is very handy if you live near Ecclesall Road and are based at City. The train station is also just a two-minute walk away from the University and the Students’ Union (there’s also a great little coffee stall on the way up to the university from the station!) I now drive in and there is plenty of parking, but the earlier you arrive the better! The NCP & APCOA car parks offer student discounts when you scan your chip at the help desks, giving you 4 quid all day parking. There are also cheaper charity car parks just a stone’s throw away from City Campus.
Throughout your time at University, it’s a good idea to keep up a good social life/work balance and joining societies and clubs is a great way to do this. I met people from all over and luckily some of them lived in town, which saved me from expensive taxis and parking on many occasions! The more friends you have at Uni the better and it’s so easy to make them through societies and sports. Hallam offer ‘give it a go’ sessions, social sports and free societies, so there’s something for everyone. Having course friends and mates from a society/sports club was great as I could always call on someone for help and advice, or pair up with a study buddy. If you’re driving into socials, perhaps in the evening, from 4:30 to 8, parking is just a pound on council car parks, then after that it’s free.
Living at home whilst studying can be a fantastic option if you’d like to stay local. You can still get involved with all of University life and even save some money whilst doing so.