Being a student isn’t just about learning and securing a good education for yourself. For a lot of people, this is a turning point in life, marking their transition from teenager to young adult, and it will be a very important time. Over the course of a handful of years, university will teach you social skills, commitment and responsibility, and all of the skills you need to work in the modern world. Of course, though, not every decides to go to a dedicated establishment to learn.

Nowadays, options like Open University are becoming more and more popular. Enabling you to handle all of your studying from home, they will give you the chance to work learning into the life you already have. People often miss out on the chance to live like a true student when they take this sort of route, though, and this is a shame. To help you to take a slightly different approach, this post will be exploring the idea of living like a student while using the OU, all while giving you the education you need.

Why Bother?

Before going too deeply into this, it’s worth thinking about the reasons why you’d want to bother in the first place, as this can serve as some powerful inspiration when you’re first getting started. As a big part of this, people simple won’t want to miss out on the chance to live as a student. But, to achieve this goal, you could simply take a normal route, and it’s critical that you think about the benefits of using a distance-learning instead.

  • Money: As they don’t have to pay for lecturers, study spaces, and all of the other resources which a university has to pay for, an online learning company will usually be a lot cheaper than traditional schools. If you’re unable to get a loan for your studies, this could be a godsend which makes everything possible. Of course, though, the savings won’t be worth it if you don’t choose the right program.


  • Time: Being able to keep up your normal job, raise a child, and handle the other important parts of adult life isn’t easy on a normal course. Distance learning won’t have this sort of downfall. Instead, they will give you the chance to work whenever you have the chance, while also offering extensions if you are struggling to meet the deadlines which they have set.


  • Freedom: Having the chance to choose which subjects you study is very important, and so is having the chance to influence your workspace. Using a course which is designed to be taken at home, you will have the chance to dictate almost every aspect of your work, from the hours you contribute to the type of lectures you listen to and watch. You will even have the opportunity to choose where you study from.

With an idea of what makes this important in mind, you will be ready to begin the process of arranging your student life. There are several areas which have to be considered during this process, and it won’t always be easy to get it right the first time around. To make this easier, a course with a company like Open University will enable you to move elsewhere and start fresh without losing any progress. Below, you can find some examples of the sort of plans you’ll have to make.


The very first part of this to consider will be the accommodation you choose for your time at school. As one of the key benefits of this sort of route, you will be able to choose to move anywhere, and the location will be the first place for you to think about. To get the right experience, it will be worth going somewhere which is already home to loads of students. Cities with universities and other establishments will make it much easier for you to find peers during your time at school.

Once you have a city or town in mind, you will be ready to begin the process of finding your new property. Of course, as a student, you will be renting this place, and it will be worth looking for options like Fortis Student lettings who can give you access to loads of rooms without having to be at a particular school. It can be hard to find companies which don’t mind taking on Open University students, though this trend is starting to die down a little bit.

When you’re studying, affording a place to yourself is unlikely to work out, and most people will choose to live with others instead. This is all part of the experience, but it could still be hard for some people to deal with at first. It’s worth working through the struggles you face at this stage, though, as the people you meet and spend time with could end up being your friends for the rest of your life. Of course, everyone has to go through this, and the people you’re living with may feel just as homesick.

Study Spaces

One of the concerns a lot of students have with the idea of distance learning is losing the chance to have a dedicated study space. In reality, though, you never have to lose this benefit, as finding a couple of public places to use will often be enough. Libraries are becoming rarer, but there are more than enough coffee shops to take their place, and they can also act as great places to start making some friends. It will always be worth scoping out a place before you decide to take it on as your favourite venue.

Along with public spaces, most people will want to have a place at home which makes it nice and easy to focus on work. This will larger be down to the accommodation you choose in the section above, with places which have a dedicated room for learning being the very best. It’s hard to find a space which won’t offer distractions. Once you have achieved this goal, though, it will be much easier to crack on and achieve your goals.

Working on your own isn’t always the best way to handle education. In fact, for some people and subjects, it will be impossible to concentrate without people around, and loads of other benefits can come from study buddies. Finding people like this can be a challenge when you’re not going to a dedicated school, though. To help with this, social media sites like Facebook can offer powerful tools in this area, giving you the chance to join groups filled with other local distance learning students.

Social Time

As the last area to consider, a lot of people consider the social aspect of student life to be the most exciting, but is the area you stand to lose the most of when you decide to study at home. Thankfully, there are some tools which can be used to help with this. To start, social media can also be a big help with this part of your experience, as people tend to post information about events on places like this. You might not be able to go to Freshers events, but you will be able to do things on a private basis.

For cities which don’t have room for sprawling Student Unions, it’s very common for local clubs and other venues to be the main hosts of student parties. While this means having to keep an eye out on a few websites, it can give you the chance to attend without having to go to a particular school. Most universities will expect their events to be reserved for their own students, and this can make it hard when you don’t have an ID for the place.

Over the last few decades, student societies have been becoming more and more popular. Giving students the chance to connect with people who have similar interests, these clubs can be great when you’re in a student city. Organisations like the Open University often have their own systems in place to make joining them nice and easy. Of course, though, you may have to do some research, as the societies you choose may not be active in your area. This could be an excuse to start your own division, if you are willing to do the work.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to look into the idea of studying like a normal student on your distance learning course. Learning like this is starting to prove to be very successful, with loads of students benefiting from the freedom and relaxed nature it provides. If you are struggling to choose the best path for you, it could be worth talking to an independent advisor with experience supporting education. While the schools themselves will be biased, experts in the field will be able to give you clear advice when it comes to the path you should be walking. Of course, all of this work has to be done with your future career in mind.