So, you’ve been accepted into university – congratulations! Moving away from home is a major step in anybody’s life as you face new challenges, like living with people you’ve never met before, managing your money or just university work in general.
Will I be homesick?
Missing your home, your family and your friends is a natural experience, especially if it’s your first time being away. You’re in a new place, with new people and cultures, and you’ve got the pressures of studying and socialising. While you’re expected to have the best years of your life at university, the adjustment can be difficult and everybody deals with it in their own way.
The first tip is to keep busy. Try getting to know your surroundings by exploring the local area, you’ll probably be living there for three years so it’s best to familiarise yourself! Moving away also means you have a great opportunity to make friends, especially if you’re living in halls. People in your flat will most likely be feeling the same uncertainties as you, so remember you’re not alone. There are other great ways to make friends at university for example through your course, societies and Freshers’ week.
The second tip is to try and avoid going home in the first few weeks of starting university. While it may be tempting to visit home quite quickly, it’s best to give it some time. Just because you’re at university doesn’t mean your family has abandoned you. It’s a time to step outside of your comfort zone and to make new friends; going home too often may restrict this. But that doesn’t mean stopping all contact with your family, instead you can try having a weekly FaceTime call with them. Just remember that you are not alone.
Will I have enough money?
Money is a huge factor when deciding whether to live away at university or to stay at home. It’s not uncommon for students to have financial issues, which can result in an overwhelming strain and can make your time at university even more difficult than it already is.
As a student you may have access to different pots of. The first is your maintenance loan; this is the largest sum of money you get from the Government each year and the amount of money varies for each individual depending on your parent’s income. You tend to receive it at the beginning of each term and it’s typically spent on paying for your accommodation and day to day expenditure.
As well as your student loan you may be able to gain a scholarship or a bursary from your university. Scholarships are a great way to have your hard work recognised. Liverpool Hope for example have scholarships for those talented in Dance, Drama, Music or Sport and who have a portfolio of public performances or have performed at a national level.
To gain some extra cash, students typically get a part time job while studying. Universities are able to provide a large number of jobs for students on campus. At Hope there is a vast range of vacancies including; Student Ambassador’s, Library Ambassador’s, Catering Assistant’s, Senior Resident Tutor’s and many more. There are also plenty of opportunities to find part-time work outside of university, especially if you’re living in a city.
Above all, my main tip is to be able to budget your money. It’s important to know how much you get each month/term, how much you need to spend, and what you have left to spend on yourself. Budgeting is a difficult but necessary task, but it does help you to manage your money efficiently.
Will my mental health be affected?
Despite a romanticised image of university life and the thought of having ‘the best time of your life’, there are some things that aren’t really talked about. Struggling with mental health is often a nationwide problem at university, with one in four students experiencing problems.
One of the best ways to manage it is to talk to someone about your worries or problems, whether it’s your family, friends or someone at your university. At Hope we have a Student Wellbeing and counselling team who are always there for you. And if you live in halls there’ll be a Senior Resident Tutor, who’ll be on hand to support you throughout the year.
Exercise is also a great way to boost your mental health and self-esteem. Most (if not all) universities have gyms which are accessible for students at a reasonable price; at Hope it costs just £25 for a registration fee and then it’s free for the year to use the gym, squash courts, astro turf and much more. While exercise is a great way to help boost your mental health, eating healthy and making sure you get enough sleep each night is proven to be very beneficial.
I’d definitely recommend moving away to university, as you’re able gain more independence and push yourself out of your comfort zone. For me, it’s been the best decision I’ve made!
By Vaishali Foster