For a lot of people university means heading to a brand new place without homely comforts such as friends. Or for that matter, anyone you know at all. Understandably, some people prefer to go to the same university as their friends from school. But whether you’ve purposefully chosen to go to the same place, or whether it’s a coincidence that it happens to offer the best courses and the campus felt just right, going to university with friends from home can make the experience that little bit different. If this is something you’re considering, check out our list of pros and cons of going to university with your friends from home:
A familiar face
Starting University might be exciting, but it’s also terrifying. Living away from home, probably for the first time, it’s common to feel homesick and these feelings are often exacerbated by not knowing anyone. Whether they’re your best mate from primary school or more of an acquaintance, having a familiar and friendly face can make the start of university much more enjoyable.
They might be in different accommodation or on a different course, but it’s comforting to know that you’re not on your own – you have at least one person to talk to.
Don’t lose touch
Even in the age of social media, it’s surprising how easy it is to lose touch with people when you don’t see them every day at school. It’s all too easy to never get round to sending the Facebook message that you really meant to send, and the truth is you’ll probably never speak to the majority of people from school again.
A great way to ensure you stay in touch with your mates is to go to the same university. After all, they do say that’s where you make your best friends, and the shared experiences you go through at uni can only make your friendship stronger.
Someone to go to things with
Even if you have a few great conversations, chances are you’re not going to meet your best friend for life in the first two days of university.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to go to some Freshers Events with your flatmates. But often, even if you get on well, it doesn’t always work out that way, especially where different courses have conflicting timetables and you’re a bit too shy to reach out.
There’s no need to worry if you’ve already got a proper friend there; you can easily ping them a text suggesting you go to the Society Fayre together. And hey, you can always bring new friends along too.
For those who are a bit on the shy side, and intimidated about the idea of going to a new society on their own, a friend who might be willing to go along with you is a blessing. You could try things that you never would have otherwise – all because you’ve got your friend from home with you!
Make friends with their friends
Especially if they’re on a completely different course, chances are you and your friend from home will make other friends (I know, it’s a terrible betrayal!)
But this can actually be beneficial. At university, it’s surprisingly easy to fall in with only one group of people, be that centred around your course, favourite society or student residence.
If your friend is studying something completely different you could end up being friends with people you never would have met otherwise. It’s always good to befriend a wide variety of people and broaden your horizons. This could mean polar opposites like Maths and English students hanging out together, or a Physicist befriending a Social Scientist (even if they never agree on what constitutes a ‘real’ science!)
They know absolutely everything
A lot of people going to university embrace the chance to have a fresh start, perhaps aspiring to be a different person and leave behind certain jokes and reputations they might have picked up at school (even amongst friends).
But if your friends from home are coming with you…? Forget it. Those embarrassing childhood stories or drunken house-party anecdotes will follow you whether you like it or not. There’s no point trying to hide anything from your past when the people who went through it with you are in the room next door telling all. This might not be a big deal to some, but for others looking to make their mark and outgrow the person they were at school it could be a major point of contention.
Be your own person
Starting university is challenging so it’s great to have a hand to hold at the start, but it’s good to not rely too heavily on old friends. Aside from the fact you’ll probably get sick of each other’s company at some point, it’s an important part of the university experience to step outside your comfort zone and do things individually. Jumping into the deep end might be scary, but it can also be a very rewarding and positive experience. Go to that society on your own because you want to, and make your voice heard – don’t hide behind anyone else. Though it’s not just friends from home who this could apply to, they tend to be the easiest people to hide behind at uni, which means all sticking together could be detrimental for everyone.
You might not make “your own friends”
Going to university with your friends means there’s a good chance you’ll stick together. And of course, you’ll also make plenty more friends, so it can be a lot of fun to hang out altogether.
But one problem you have to watch out for, and is an inevitable risk, is that you won’t actually make any friends of your own and will become overly reliant on people that your mate from home has befriended. While objectively speaking there’s nothing wrong with that, the university is a good opportunity to meet lots of people, gain independence and improve your confidence. Plus, chances are you will get sick of them eventually and need a brief break – it’s always nice to have the option of hanging out with different people!
No one to visit at the weekend
Less of a con of going to the same university as your friends, and more of a pro for going to different universities, but the point still stands. One fun aspect of university is the weekend trip to visit your friend at a different university in a different part of the country – be it Norwich to Aberystwyth (took me 12 hours) or Birmingham to Newcastle – getting the opportunity to explore a new place with free accommodation (a.k.a. their floor). Being at the same uni means you could miss out on this.