It can be done. I'm in my second year of uni now. I'm also the first from my family to go to uni and my parents can't provide me any financial support. But I manage and tbh being here is still a lot of fun. Theres no point giving sob stories about 4hours sleep per night. It's extremely rare when you actually need to do that.
The point of EMA isn't to relieve rent costs etc anyway. It's £30 a week. If your in sure dire straights that you've got to work that many hours just to pay the parents rent then £30 is nothing anyway. It doesn't allow you to go to college. It saves you 5hours work a week, which as we all know is nothing.