Port Macquarie’s first-year university students are eager to return to campus for the spring session, following months of online learning due to COVID-19.

Many students who moved away from Port Macquarie for university earlier this year have returned home during the pandemic.

University of NSW optometry student Matt Covetz said the social aspect of university life was something he missed about living away from campus.

“I definitely miss all my friends that I made there, staying at ‘college’. I was able to make lots of friends really quickly,” he said.

“I was involved in a lot of things socially, I was about to join a soccer team and that would have been really fun as an escape from uni work.”

But according to Mr Covetz attending university was also beneficial for his study habits.

“Being able to attend the lectures in person, I guess that makes it more engaging,” he said.

“I miss being able to get in and do the [practical classes] and learn that way as well, I think that’s a very beneficial way to learn.

“The biggest thing has been that I was much more motivated to study while living on campus.”

Mr Covetz moved out of university accommodation soon after the COVID-19 lockdown began, whilst University of Newcastle mathematics student Kieran Hill continued to live on campus.

Mr Hill said that he enjoyed the independence which was his reason not to return home. It also meant he could continue to study on his own terms.

“It’s been beneficial and helpful for me in that I’m able to study at whatever time I choose,” he said.

“I work best at night, so that definitely helps me.”

Mr Hill also enjoyed the social aspects of life on campus prior to lockdown.

“Getting to hang out with people, that’s definitely the bit that I miss the most,” he said.

“Also the community feel of the uni, especially when you live on campus, I really miss that.”

The University of NSW’s second trimester is currently underway, whilst the University of Newcastle begins its second semester on August 3.

Both universities are expected to resume on-campus delivery this year.