It's a question so hotly debated that it burns holes in pockets, but what really sets these two opposites apart? Maybe we shall never know, maybe we're not meant to know, but it is certainly worth a shot.
Pro: No Rent, No Bills
Correct me if I'm wrong, but if there's one thing that hits students harder than a sucker punch, it has to be paying rent and bills. Admit it, if you've ever lived in halls, a flat or even digs with a high rent, you're bound to have had jealous, manic and malicious thoughts towards those lucky bollocks who saved several thousands each year by staying with the 'rents. This is perhaps the most obvious benefit to living at home, because these are the blessed people who can use their grant to buy a MacBook, a hundred messy nights or even a wild trip to the Continent instead of adopting the hobo life that the rest of us must.
Con: It could be really far away
It's 7am and all is quiet. Most of Ireland is still asleep, but spare a thought for the poor commuting student. Be prepared for horror stories - many of us know someone who gets up at 5am to get a multi-hour bus journey just to be in for their 9am lecture where they're bound to doze off anyway. What makes it even worse is just sitting in that lecture, knowing that there's a five hour gap until the next. You can't just pop home for a quick cup of tea nor even a lunchtime roast. Going out is an even bigger scare - think the Over-40s Boogie Night at the Carlow Arms instead of Coppers, unless you have a sofa in your mate's place to crash on, it ain't gonna happen.
Pro: Nights Out
This is the big-daddy of all dealbreakers. For the home student it can swing either way depending on how your parents are. Of course, many will be grand with you going out on the swall, having done it themselves many moons ago. But there will always be the psychopathic ones to match this, who go berserk over you opening a single can at predrinks, let alone the ten-or-so shots you're inevitably bound to do later in town. A scarier prospect is the idea of bringing an attractive young lad/lass home for the night. We can only imagine the awkwardness the morning after, that is, assuming they're not kicked out your back window as soon as you get in.
It's inexplicably linked to moving out of home into college accomodation, but how true is it? You may be away from parents, teachers and judgmental siblings but instead of being free, a little annoying think called money walks in and kicks puddles into your face all day long. Of course, there's more to living away from home than that. Yes, you may well have made it to the golden mile, where you can eat, drink and do whatever you please. This includes running round halls in your boxers asking people for "the shift".
Con/Pro: Your flatmates
These may be your new best friends for life, or everyday may as well be a war. There's always a fecker who leaves all their dishes in the sink, rotting food in the fridge (so rotten you can't even tell what it was in a past life) or (reel away in fear, now) a used condom on the sofa. This is especially applicable if you're in halls. People you've never met before are always going to be a punt - you could go through the most intense bromance period known to man, or you could hate them from the darkest depths of your mind.
For those of you who are used to meals on the table every night, snacks on demand and cups of tea aplenty, beware. Living away from home is certainly an experience. You shall come across meals you never even thought possible, from the staple noodle sandwich to the godly Centra chicken roll (for more info, check out this piece from earlier this week - ). In particular, meals that end with the word "surprise" usually happen to be a fascinating combo of different meals in one. Pray in hope that you're lucky enough to have a flatmate who can cook. Otherwise, Turkey Surprise anyone?