Being away at university definitely has its benefits – from freedom from your parents and independence, to the ability to manage your own time.
That being said, there are certainly those days when you miss your home comforts. It’s coming up to Christmas, the student loans have all but melted away, you can start to see your own breath in the house and there’s probably nothing edible for miles.
It seems most students are relishing the chance to get home, so Liverpool Life has taken to the streets of Liverpool to find out what it is that students most miss about home.
1. Quality toilet paper: A very common answer, and it’s not surprising why. There’s only so much ASDA value toilet paper a student can put up with. It’s true that there is a wide range of brands available these days. But despite the fantastic price, there really isn’t anything like the good stuff at home!
2. Having your own bed: Everyone has their bed at university but at the end of the day it’s just not your bed. That one is the ultra-comfortable one that’s laying vacant in your house that hasn’t been used by millions of people staying the night, the one with a mattress actually fit for sleeping on. Daniel Thomson, 22, a civil engineering student from Liverpool University, said: “I can’t emphasise enough how uncomfortable my bed is in my flat.”
3. A clean bathroom: There is nothing quite like the sight of a student toilet, most are reminiscent of that scene from Trainspotting . As for the shower, you don’t know whether you feel cleaner for having actually got in it, not to mention the one in a hundred chance it may actually be warm or that your shower gel hasn’t been finished off by a dishonest, though familiar-smelling, housemate. Yes, there’s a very delicate art to showering in a student house or halls.
4. Pets: Strangely, a lot of students still have a very close attachment to their family pet. Many miss them more than any other member of their family. You can’t exactly Skype the dog for a quick catch-up, so you’ll just have to wait until you get home. Andrew McKenna, 22, a journalism student at LJMU, said: “Honestly, think I miss my dog Lucy more than my mum!”
5. Real food: Top of most students’ list. The ability to cook is a rare thing in university life. Frozen food, tuna and pasta and tins of soup are the staple these days. As the weeks drift on you start to convince yourself your parents’ cooking is of Michelin standard. Regardless of what anyone says, there is nothing as good as a home-cooked meal from your mum and her Christmas dinner will have been on your mind for quite a while now.
6. Quiet: If you have ever lived in Halls of Residence this is something you will really appreciate. The flat is usually just as noisy at four in the morning as it is at four in the afternoon. It’s a difficult task to try and find peace and quiet at university – even in the library, there’s the sound of people chatting.
7. Warmth: You think it should be a human right but at university you can’t take anything for granted. Coming up to these winter months, things can get treacherous. Sarah Marsh, 19, said: “I don’t think my house has been warm once this year. The gas seems to run out every two seconds.” There are a very few times that you feel your life is at risk at uni but waking up in the middle of the night at the sight of your own breath is probably one of them. The thought of sitting in your family home beside a fire may be the only thing to keep you warm in the meantime.
8. Clean clothes: Another very common answer. You don’t appreciate how frustrating the task of cleaning your own clothes can be until you step out of your family home at 18. Most students delay it for as long as possible but unless you’re one of the lucky ones with a washing machine in the house, you’ll just end up in the laundrette feeding the machine pound coins. Thankfully at home your parents do it for free. Daniel Kelly, 21, from Derry, said: “I take it for granted what my mum does for me when I’m home. There’s nothing I hate more than having to clean my own clothes when I’m over here.”
9. Privacy: You never truly feel at ease speaking on the phone in your student house. The walls just simply aren’t thick enough to give you that feeling of solitude. If you take your phone call outside, chances are you’re going to bump into someone you know anyway. Catherine Smith, 18, said: “Any time I’m having a conversation with my parents on the phone I’m convinced the rest of my flat can hear me.”
10. Not having to wear shoes everywhere: Another strange one, but an answer that popped up quite a lot. The idea that you would let your bare feet touch whatever it is that may be growing on your kitchen or bathroom floor is just too much for some students to comprehend. Whether you’re wearing flip flops or trainers, it’s better to be safe than sorry.