> Of all the difficult aspects of coming to university, simply staying put can be hard enough

Ask yourself this, which of your university friends goes home the most?

Stereotypically, girls are thought to go home more often than boys, based on the fact that we love our Mummies too much and can’t handle the emotional stress of university life. Recent surveys (well, mine, which I sent to a selection of Facebook friends) have shown that this divide, although not as clear cut as some would like to imagine, is still definitively evident. However, as it turns out only one person told me they went home more than five times last term, and that person was a boy.

Suprised? I was. But why should we be? It has become commonplace at university for boys to group up and indulge in a sort of alpha male ‘lad’-off, with event titles such as “Who can down the most tequila in 30 seconds?”, “Who has the balls to run around the student village in nothing but girls’ underwear?” and “Who is man enough to shot vodka through their eyes?”. This ever-growing lad culture is seeping into the ideology of male students who believe they will lose their ‘lad points’ if they go home to see Mummy every other weekend.

Anyway, I’m diverging from the point. You can’t argue with the facts and figures, so as a general comment; girls do go home more often than boys. What this brings us to question then, is the levels of dedication between the two sexes. If girls are going home continuously, are they less committed to their degree? Being a girl myself and clearly biased, I would argue not, but 85 per cent of the people I questioned, admitted that they work better at university than at their original homes. So if girls spend more of their time away from university…you do the maths. Now, before I get in any more trouble with the raging feminists out there, let me fight my female corner with a little reverse psychology.

As an English literature student, I am not aware of a particular divide in marks between girls and boys. Sure, there are some literary genius’ in the making out there but they are available in both the male and female variety. What I’m proposing then is that girls go home more often than boys, and supposedly are less committed, yet we’re competing at the same level as them academically. Perhaps boys need the discipline that university provides in order to get the grades, whilst girls can motivate themselves and do their work in shorter spaces of time.

OK, so now I’ve sufficiently irritated every male out there (I’m never going to get a boyfriend), there’s another issue I’d like to raise. We are one of the only mammals in the world that stay with our parents past the first few years of childhood. Nowadays it is not uncommon, in fact it is expected, that at the age of 18, we will still be living with our parents. Moving away to university at this age therefore, is a big step for a lot of people, although I have reason to believe that boys accept and adjust to this arrangement quicker than girls. 60 per cent of the males I questioned agreed with the statement “I consider myself to have left home, and my university accommodation as my new home”. Only 35 percent of the females I asked agreed with this statement, with the other 65 per cent believing “I still consider my original home as home and university accommodation as temporary”. From this, it can be suggested that boys are keener to become independent and consequently look at university as preparation for going out in the big wide world by themselves. Unintentionally, this is giving the impression that girls are living in some kind of fantasy world, wrapped in the comfort blanket of the university bubble and going home every other weekend. However, I believe that the approach people take to university is dependent on the specific lifestyle and personality of each particular student.

As an example, many students have noticed a difference between those who took a gap year between university and college, and those who didn’t. Whether these gap year students went travelling, worked for a year or even took another course at college; they have had that extra time to live outside of the rules and regulations of a school and gain some life-experience. In doing so, I’m suggesting that this means they are less likely to get homesick, and so feel less need to go home as often as others.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not at all taking a dig at those of you who didn’t take a gap year, in fact, not taking a break from academic work has been shown to be highly beneficial. You are still in the mindset of writing essays and thinking academically and therefore, getting into the swing of university work is a lot easier. So, we’ve reached a muddled conclusion; gap year students don’t go home, but non-gap year students work harder? A somewhat unfair statement which brings me back to my initial comment. The determination of a student and their dedication to their degree is particular to that person and that person only.