Like most students, home for me is a place I go to recharge when the stress of student life gets too much. It’s a place where I get to spend time with some of the most important people in the world to me. But, it is not a place I would like to permanently return to any time soon. It is great for a long weekend – where I don’t have to worry about leaving the tap on while I brush my teeth, or leaving my bedroom light on when I’m elsewhere in the house, or a place I have to timetable in cooking my dinner around another student’s schedule. Everything is just a little bit easier at home and that is a lovely and welcoming break from my life here in Manchester.
I’ve been a student since 2014, having previously completed my undergrad at the University of Brighton. The student lifestyle is second nature to me and, however lovely home is, I’m not sure it bodes well after a week or two at my family home. It is nice temporarily, but is not an option for me long-term. Besides having an innate need for independence there is the question of career opportunities. Am I more likely to establish myself in the creative industry in Oxford or Manchester? I wouldn’t call Oxford the most ‘creative’ city – academic definitely, but creative? Not so much. After a week or two back home I am often left gagging to get back to graffiti walls of Manchester with the background noise of buskers and northern slang.
Does Oxford have a Media City? Does Oxford offer me an inspiring industrial landscape to fuel my artistry? In fairness Oxford does home some extraordinarily beautiful architecture which is rich is history, but something about Manchester oozes a different charm. It is a place that has become my home in just a short 10 months. It is a city I am proud to live in. It is a city that nurtures creativity and inspires the drive in me to want to pursue my goal of one day being in the film industry. It is a city that has the ability to make that goal much more achievable than that of my hometown 5 miles out of Oxford. Manchester is a very up and coming city, challenging London in terms of artist and media opportunities – just without the enormous property price tags – winner, winner.
It’s a place that I feel will allow me a much better chance of establishing myself as a creative than Oxford, and even London for that matter – the latter of which seems to be every creatives first port of call to make a name for themselves, which ups the competitiveness of the entire game.
So if you want to know how I really feel about moving home then the only answer I can give would be disappointed. Not because I don’t want to be surrounded by my friends and family every day because that would be wonderful. More so because moving back home would mean either halting my career plans (which I absolutely do not want to do) and/or not achieving what I desperately want to achieve.
Sure there are media jobs in every city in the country, but I’ve always dreamt big and big just doesn’t exist back home. The scale of opportunities here in Manchester is what I need at this point in not only my career but my life. I know my friends and family are always on the other end of the phone, or an easy train ride away, and in an perfect world I would have my cake and eat it but if I’ve learnt anything from being an ‘artist’ it is that perfect worlds don’t exist and we must navigate through life in mysterious ways. Home is always there when I need it.