After four years of university, I have moved back into my family home. Like my other friends, I brought back boxes of books, cutlery, duvets, clothes and other bits and bobs that got picked up along the way that are hard to part with (UoN foam finger). Many, if not all, of my friends that have moved back home this summer after university ended have encountered some issues which I want to talk about today.
Freedom and independence
At uni: Living with friends at uni in halls or a house gives you freedom, that’s without saying. There’s nobody telling you what time you have to be home for and if your housemates ask where you’re going, it’s because they’re interested, not because they are concerned for your safety.
At home: At home things can be more restrictive. Even though we are adults, our parents will always see us as their children and because it’s their house, they can impose curfews, a time to be out of bed in the morning or ask you to wait in all day for the gasman. Siblings may also get involved and sneak up on you, trying to see who you’re texting.
At uni: Meal times are when you want and that doesn’t mean I was one to have breakfast at 11am, just that I could schedule meal times around my plans for each day. With evening training sessions, I’d often have half my dinner at 5pm and the other half afterwards at 8.30pm. With supermarkets close by, I could put off deciding what to eat until late afternoon. No idea what to eat? You could experiment with spices, or invite a friend over or even just get takeout from the Chinese. I had a snack drawer in my bedroom and the kitchen was always open.
At home: Meals are usually planned a week in advance, or there’s at least a general overview of what we’ll eat during the week. Portion sizes are different, depending if your parents think you need to lose or gain weight. Meal times are set around a certain time, rather than just ‘waiting until people are hungry’ and we all sit down to eat together. The cupboards and fridge are full with food, which is great but a friend of mine told me how his parents lock the kitchen late evening, so no midnight snacking for him! There are also disagreements about food and cooking – one doesn’t like butter, the other doesn’t want meat, one doesn’t like stir-fry, etc.
At uni: You probably watched films and TV series on your laptop, meaning often grainy images and lots of buffering if you’re sharing the wifi with five other people. But you could watch what you wanted when you wanted and without too many interruptions or distractions.
At home: Your living room has a 40″ TV, the picture on this screen is great and you never want to go back to a 13″ again. But your brother/sister/mum all have their set programmes that they (or you!) watch at certain times, without fail. Whether it’s Coronation St at 7.30pm, or Great British Bake Off (Wednesdays at 8pm), they want to watch it live, well at the exact time of broadcasting.
At uni: Students aren’t known for their cleanliness, but most of us actually are in our own ways and time frames. We may leave washing up until there’s a stack of items, not make our beds at daybreak or not clean the bathroom as often as we should, but eventually we do it. Our rooms may often fall into a state of ‘organised chaos’ but it’s fine.
At home: Organised chaos is never ok. Things have to be cleaned up and put away much quicker than they are at our uni homes. You get told off for not bringing mugs into the kitchen (I got told off for this in my uni house too!) and there are certain places for certain things.
These examples are just a few of the many things that happen when students move back home after spending time away at uni. Despite the few adjustments you or they have to make, moving home is a great way to reconnect with your family.