University: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Another good weekend for the books. Every Canadian must stop by Mont Tremblant at least once in their life.

I came back to an email from Jenna (my friend who did push-ups under her desk). She emailed me saying she 1) needs to get back to those push-ups and 2) she feels SO New York because her best friend is a blogger. My friends are actually jealous that part of my job is to blog.

I told them that the next topic was “Bosses from Hell” and they laughed. I told my boss and I thought he might fall over laughing. However, my lovely co-worker had a request for this week’s blog.

Coming out in the fall issue of Career Options High School Edition is a list of questions from high school students to university students on one of the most frustrating and crucial questions all high school students will ask themselves:

Should I go away to university or should I stay at home?

The questions are answered by two students at Dalhousie University who both moved away from home to go to university. I have lived in Ottawa my whole life. I applied to three other schools but chose to stay and attend the University of Ottawa for my Honours Bachelor of Commerce, and I graduated last year.

I really can’t give you an exact tell-all about what it’s like to move away, but I can tell you how it feels to stay at home and go through the benefits and pitfalls. Just for you, I’ve composed a list of pros and cons to staying at home for university.


Saving Money: If you look at the grand scheme of things, university is kind of your last chance to save up your money. Afterwards you’re going out and getting a job to move out on your own. School costs $25-$30 thousand total. Say $5000 tuition; residence runs up to $10 000 per year. Don’t forget laptop, textbooks, socializing, clothing and your biggest expense will be food. That’s over $16 000 for 1 year out of 4! Don‘t forget the cost of travelling back home. Welcome to the wonderful life of student loans!

Support System: Sounds childish but it’s really nice having your family right there to support you. Lose an essay? Fail a midterm – or entire course? You can run home and have your parents right there to listen to or have a fresh batch of homemade cookies when you‘re studying. Studies show first year students living at home have significantly higher mental health scores. Having never been in university, you may not understand, but you really do need your cheering team to help you out of the rough patch.

Freshman 15: Nobody thinks it’ll happen to them but then BAM! A month later there it is! All that junk food and excessive drinking catches up with you. A study has shown that 70% of students gain excessive weight. On top of that you’ll have to spend more on new clothing. Being at home is great because you have access to healthy food and any food you want.

Side note: Thanks to my parents and all the parents out there! Thanks for putting a roof over our heads, feeding us, and dealing with our exam psychotics. You’ll never know how much we appreciate it!


Social life: This really depends on you and your situation. My house is a 1 hour bus drive (20 minutes by car) away from school. It’s not easy waking up at 6:00 am for your 8:30 am class. It’s also not easy to go out and party every night when you’re 1 hour away. I really felt like I missed out on a lot of opportunities. I think this is every prospective student’s #1 fear. You really can’t help it, it will happen but remember, it’s really not the end of the world!! So what, you missed a mixer – everybody misses something and no matter what you do, you won’t be in on every single inside joke that happens. A lot of my friends who live at home around me are still the centre of attention at school. They’re even presidents of school clubs, have top grades and end up becoming highly recognized amongst professors and peers. Being at home means you just have to try harder. Yes, you will have to bus! Make a lot of friends and go crash at their place. Just make sure you put yourself out there!

Convenience: As I mentioned, waking up almost 2 hours before class to get there on time isn’t fun. I wish I could just roll out of bed 30 minutes early. Last year we had a bus strike and a lot of students couldn’t make it to class and had do graduate a semester later. At the same time, how many disgusting slobs have I seen come to class in pajamas without even brushing their teeth? Please, promise me you won’t do that! Also, remember you have the convenience of many parents who will do the groceries, do your laundry, cook your meals as well as any little task you may need.

The single most important thing to keep in mind is: what university is best for you? Take out the location and take a serious look at each university. After all my education I can tell you these two things:

If there were two identical universities: 1 in my city and the other in, say, British Columbia, I would go the British Columbia!

However, if all the universities I wanted to attend were right next door to me, I’d still pick University of Ottawa.

I did my research and I knew what I wanted in my education and in the university that provided it. In the end, it was Ottawa. No matter where you go, there will always be positive and negatives just make sure you make the choice that’s right for you!

Let me know what you think! For university students: tell me about your experience. For high school students: what are your fears and give me some questions to incorporate into the article for the fall issue.

Also, tell me stories about your “Boss from Hell” and how you dealt with them by leaving a comment below.

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