London is an expensive city, there’s no denying it. So when I was accepted to study a Master’s degree at LSE, I decided that I would be living at home. It’s provided me with a good base, and hasn’t prevented me from having the “university experience” (although the pandemic has limited this for everyone to some extent)!
There is a preconception that people who live at home while at university miss out on the “student experience” but that hasn’t been my experience at all. Particularly in the first few weeks of the semester, everyone was keen to meet other students for outdoor coffee walks and lunches. These early friendships within my courses have been instrumental in my sanity for the last few months in terms of emotional and academic support.
London is enormous, so sometimes it’s easier to meet friends on campus, parks, or bars and restaurants (when we are allowed to!) than it is to trek across London. Not everyone lives close to campus, and because students will be living all over London, have no fear about missing out on a small ‘bubble’ of students having a great time while you’re at home!
There are lots of ways of connecting with others so you don’t miss out on the student experience, either by joining societies, zoom calling your classmates, or meeting for library study sessions. Online panel discussions or book launches are another great way of staying connected if you’re feeling out of the loop by living at home.
Finally, if you’re starting your undergraduate or postgraduate degree, odds are you’ll be a little bit out of your comfort zone. You’ll be so busy reading for seminars, preparing for presentations, writing and planning essays, and applying for jobs – so for me, living at home during a pandemic was one way of managing these many new responsibilities!
Overall, you’re not missing out on student life at LSE by living at home. There are lots of ways of staying connected with other students, either in person or online, so you don’t miss out on any student experiences. Living in a part of London or outside London, whichever is more familiar to you, also has its benefits!
My advice for future LSE students who are considering living at home would be to try and be on campus as often as you can to meet with classmates, arrange library sessions, or have lunch with others. Get involved in as much as possible so you still feel part of the student cohort, rather than on the outskirts. (Also, if you’re lucky like me and have a pet at home, there’s another significant perk)!