Leaving home to study

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Many people move away from home to study. It can be a lot of fun to live in your own place and do your own thing but it can also be hard leaving family and friends.

Alitia, 23, moved out of her family home in Ballarat so she could live and study in Melbourne. She lived by herself while completing a degree in Psychology at Deakin University.

Why did you move away from home to study?

I wanted to get away from the country town atmosphere and challenge myself in a new city. I didn't like the reputation that University of Ballarat had for Psychology and had liked the friendliness of Deakin when I visited it on Open Day. I think the main crux of it was that I was able to start a new venture in my life and moving away gave me the opportunity of a ‘tabula rasa’- a clean slate.

What did your family and friends think about your decision?

My mum was very supportive of me leaving home but she was also sad because it had been just me and her for all this time and now we were both going to be alone. She understands my need for independence and has always supported me in all my decisions which is really comforting.

What’s the best thing about living away from home?

Living away from home gave me freedom - I like the fact that I can choose when I get up and if I want to eat toast for dinner. But I know that if I need anything like help or a friendly chat I can always pick up the phone and talk to those back home.

What’s the worst thing about living away from home?

The cleaning! I hate it. You’re the only one there who can clean so you can’t leave it for someone else to do!

Do you think there are advantages to studying in a metropolitan area rather than in a regional or rural area?

For sure. In metro areas there are far greater opportunities to expand your learning and share knowledge with other people. There are so many facilities offered in metro areas that other less populated areas just can't compete with.

Is there anything you wish someone had told you before you made the move?

The value of money. I mean everyone knows that money makes the world go round, but when you're living out of home and paying for everything yourself it's surprising how small that world can be!

What advice would you give to someone who is choosing where to study?

Go and visit the campus, see if it feels right for you and imagine yourself going to study there. Ask questions about social life events because living away from home can be hard if you haven't got your friends to share your highs and lows with. Choose a place where you feel comfortable, that's easy to get to and that you can see yourself studying at for three or four years. Go for it, you never know what you can achieve if you don't try!

If you’re thinking about moving out of home while you complete a TAFE or university course, check out our Housing & accommodation section for tips on finding a place to live.

Reach Out has a great info page on Moving Away to Attend University (new window), which deals with some of the concerns you may have.