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March 5, 2013 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

The Case for Home

Did you make the canny decision to stay in your hometown? Is that hometown Wellington? Regardless of whether this decision is rooted in a fear of change, a lack of income, an attachment to a pet Iguana, or because “I think you’ll find that Victoria’s Law School is actually rated really highly”, you will at some stage be in a tutorial, actively letting other people down because you have insufficient things in common with them. Obviously, this is because: a) you are not in a hostel and, b) have not yet had bad decision sex with anyone in said hostel. Here lies the home dwellers’ justification. Don’t question my credentials: they’re impeccable.

It’s easy to feel like all orientation stuff is geared at people in hostels, because a lot of it is. As Wellingtonians, we are entitled to pretend that everyone that gets drunk this week and throws up outside Hope Bros has just got here from out of town. Can you blame us? Regardless, if you are from here and living at home while starting university, you need not feel as though you’re missing out. I know that being the only one in Civic Square without a Te Puni T-shirt “totally blows”, but hear me out.

Submission One: Money

The easiest upside is financial. Hostels cost more than $10,000. You do not have to borrow that money from the government and pay it back later. This is unequivocally a good thing. However, if your Wellingtonian parents have the money to send you to a hostel in order to facilitate your ‘university experience’, remember that they had to earn 40% more than the cost of a hostel before tax, i.e. check yo’ privilege.

Submission Two: Other People

Not everyone is cut out to live with four hundred other people their own age. If you found high school full of people you don’t want to talk to, halls are just like that. While people in halls will probably spend less time sitting on Facebook feeling like everyone else is having a better time than them, they don’t get the luxury of having a house to themselves for an afternoon OR of using an oven OR of being able to leave the shower without having to walk down a communal hallway OR of eating (a dinner of choice) later than 6.30pm. I promise that these are real benefits. If you hate being alone and are overly envious of people in hostels surrounded by others, your best bet is to make friends with them and go “hang out” in their hostels. You will feel mildly irate that their mother doesn’t “have to shut the door every time I walk past your room because it’s such a pigsty”, but they probably (to some extent, surely) miss their family.

Submission Three: Study

Hostels have designated study spaces and heaps of people doing the same courses. Living at home means that you might have to try and get more out of your tutorials, or do PASS classes, or awkwardly put yourself out there in lectures by asking the people next to you if they “get what’s going on” or “want to talk about it sometime”. You will get distracted regardless of where you live, but your parents are also less likely to stress you out by over-hyping your first POLS111 essay. You are also probably less likely to be lured into procrastination by your fifteen-year-old brother than by fifth floor’s resident James Franco (although in the cold light of day, both of them inevitably look like one of the Inbetweeners).

Submission Four: False Popularity

The definition of ‘popularity’ as ‘knowing people outside of one building’ is iffy but, in my opinion, tenable. You do, after all, know people here (!!). If you want to know new ones, you can meet them: if you don’t, then you needn’t bother. No one need know if you haven’t met anyone new since you were sixteen and working at a bagel shop. (FYI the bonding value of carbs should not be underestimated – watch out for that).

Submission Five: Standard of Living

When you move out of home, you are suddenly forced to do all your own washing and maintain a basic standard of cleanliness that theretofore may have been maintained for you. At this moment, you magically appreciate everything
that was done for you at home (yes, yes, we all ‘help out’ around the house – it’s hardly self-sufficiency). On reflection, I think these newfound ‘life skills’ can only be seen as a positive thing. If you are still at home, I suppose the best you can do is be grateful for having your shirts ironed while being aware that you’ll eventually move out and become 30% less productive because you’ve gotta cook and clean and spend time waiting for washing cycles to finish. Once more, check yo’ privilege…

Submission Six: A Few Weeks’ Head Start

God forbid Wellingtonians have to share KK Malaysia/Midnight Espresso/SaveMart, but it’s inevitable. You have inside information. Use it wisely.

In closing:

When at home, you have the choice to go flatting whenever you like. You need not be overwhelmed in moving somewhere different while also starting uni. It is stupid to think that only people in halls have ready-made flatmates – as per Submission Four, you know people here. Additionally, you don’t have to sign up for someplace average out of sheer desperation: you can wait, all the while luxuriating in your family’s clean bench and the food in the fridge not being marked with pass-agg Post-It notes.

I didn’t want to get sentimental, but regardless of where you live, this place is awesome.


Indi Howse


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