Natasha is president of the University of Westminster JSoc
My school friends considered moving out for university to be the focal point of their higher education experience, but I made the decision to stay at home.
I spend my evenings as a television blogger needing peace and quiet, and also wanted to focus more on my degree than running a house.
At first it was tricky explaining why I stayed at home because apparently I wasn’t ”doing” university right – whatever “doing it right” is.
This year I took on the role of president of the University of Westminster Jewish Society and we kicked off proceedings by holding two Freshers’ Fairs on campus.
With the idea that most of my first year members would be commuting to university from Wembley halls in North London, I had grand ideas to host events somewhere equidistant between there and Regent Street in the centre of town.
The Westminster fairs were a massive success this year and my committee and I found a growing population of Jewish students coming to study here as well.
Around half of my 30 sign-ups told me that they were living at home by choice but were afraid they wouldn’t fit in with peers because they weren’t living in shared halls.
The society, then, would be a way for students to make friends with others, proving that living at home doesn’t automatically make you an outcast.
Of course it doesn’t. It just means you’ll experience university differently; it will feel a little more like a continuation of school and a little less like one big JLGB camp.
Especially at a London university that doesn’t have a campus as such, home commuters are really easy to find. University doesn’t have to be a lonely experience just because you don’t live in halls - so please don’t hold the idea that it does!
I regularly attend Friday Night Dinners hosted by the JLE in Golders Green, where I am surrounded by many other Jewish Students studying in London.
The same organisation runs other events for the student population, such as the successful Boat Cruise on the River Thames, as well as an incredibly successful Genesis education programme which culminates in trips abroad to places including Israel.
This brings me back to wondering just what is “the right way” of “doing university” – because, thanks to my wonderful JSoc, this feels like this is the right way for me.