Going to a local university
Somehow, I think this might be one of my most controversial posts.
Some key information that you need to know before reading further:
I went to school in the local area. Warwick uni was my first choice.
Warwick uni is only a few minutes away from home.
Yes, I know! Let me explain, please.
I get it. University is so much more than a degree – it’s about flying the nest; that first step into proper adulthood. It’s about learning to live independently and self-sufficiently.
Somehow, this translates into needing to have a massive geographical buffer between university and home. This is where I disagree.
Let me clarify this: I didn’t apply to Warwick because it was close to home. I applied because I really liked the Computer Science course and the campus and various other reasons that were independent of the location (refer to my other post on those reasons).
In the end, I was torn between Warwick and another university-that-shall-not-be-named. That university was 3 hours away.
I nearly chose that other university. Their Computer Science course seemed great and it didn’t hurt that their facilities were shiny and new – but I realised that Warwick’s course offered me much more (to read about the ‘much more’, here’s another post).
So, in the end, I chose Warwick. I wouldn’t say that I chose it despite the location, nor was the location the biggest selling point.
But in hindsight? The fact that it’s a campus uni that is close to home is a major selling point.
I emphasise that Warwick is a campus uni because it really is a campus – not just a sprawl of buildings, but like a small town with a distinct vibe. I lived on campus in first year, like everyone else. I could have stayed at home, but I made that choice because I wanted that experience of living independently.
(And woah, it was an experience).
As such, I may have been close to home, but I never felt as if I was getting less of a university experience than those who came from far away. I could distinctly separate my home life and university life, without feeling trapped in one or the other.
(And no, my parents never tried to spontaneously show up on campus, even if they teased me. They understood that I needed my space!)
What I did get was an option to visit home without having to plan in advance, and without having to spend hundreds of pounds on train tickets. It meant that if I forgot to bring something from home – or needed to fetch some obscure item that I could never have guessed that I would need – it was easy to just hop on a bus and get it.
And yes, I did cheat when I had a full week of exams and didn’t have time to cook. It’s the best sort of takeaway 😉
Overall? I feel like I have got the best of both worlds. I have got that sense of independence, but with a security blanket. Moving to university is a big thing. It isn’t easy nor is it impossible, but it’s always nice to know that someone’s ready to catch you when you fly the nest for the first time.