I always had the idea of moving away for university. As thankful as I am to have my parents who do everything for me, I believed it was time for me to move away and be more independent. Liverpool has been a city I have always wanted to spend time in, and having family from here it feels like a home away from home. My home in Essex is 4 hours from Liverpool and 241 miles away from Hope. I would be lying if I said I haven’t missed it and it’s been a breeze. I think October to December is the hardest part as you go from being surrounded by your loved ones to a room surrounded by strangers. Once you conquer this change, living away from home becomes second nature.
I was lucky enough that my halls in first year became a little family. So my first bit of advice would be to surround yourself with people who make you happy, and if you haven’t found them then try to socialise and attend events or join a society or group which interests you to meet like-minded people. This will help you establish a new social circle.
As somebody who had little to none life skills before they came to uni, I’d recommend spending time with people you live with to learn the basic skills like cooking, washing clothes, budgeting and cleaning. It sounds silly to spend your summer cleaning and cooking but these skills will help you when you’re thrown in the deep end during arrivals week with no clean clothes! (This definitely makes one appreciate home more!)
On this subject, I’d also recommend bringing things from home for your bedroom in halls. This will make your room a home away from home. Also keep pictures of your loved ones around your room to keep those missed in mind. You can also try to learn a home recipe or two of your favourite meals from home. I learnt how to make my mums lasagne before I came to uni and it was a staple in my first year hall dinner nights!
Those who say that moving away from home for university costs more than if you stayed at home I disagree with. Yes, things like washing clothes is pretty expensive but, you won’t need to spend money on regular visits home. For me, by the time I get there it wasn’t long till it was time for me to come back to uni. Although I do recommend having a trip at home booked, to have something to look forward too. I tend to go home at Christmas and Easter during the academic year and I always look forward to trips home it keeps me going through the busy times and deadlines.
Another thing I’d recommend doing is sign up to the local doctors (SDW will help you do this on arrivals day) and dental surgeries, and find out where the local walk in centre and A&E in case of emergencies. Do this in your first few weeks as this will give your family or guardians at home peace of mind when they leave you at university.
Call home often. This keeps those at home in the loop with your student life and stops them worrying, it is hard for them too not to have you around anymore. Family/Friend group chats are a good way of achieving this.
University life is demanding and it’s important not to find yourself swamped in work. You have to have time away from the books sometimes. You could do this through a part time job, I’m a Student Ambassador and love it! Or you could do this through social events held by Hope Social.
Moving away from home isn’t for everyone, and sometimes I wish I could pop home for a nice home cooked meal and a chat with my mum, dad and brother. However, do what you’re comfortable with and don’t push yourself too far. Just give it time. It’s not easy at first but if you give it time you may get used to it like me!
Another thing I do if I’m missing home a lot is to remember everything you’ve achieved in university so far, whether it’s getting that part time job, getting an essay in on time or being a course representative, be proud of your accomplishments and think of what’s to come.
Grace Borg – Second Year – Media and Commnication