Some people find moving to uni a walk in the park. The fact that they have to live alone, cook, clean, and fend for themselves doesn’t bother them. Well here is a secret for you… it bothers me. I am, and have always been 100% a home bird. Do not let anyone tell you there is anything wrong with that.
Personally, I have never actually wanted to go to university. It has always been a case of ‘what else is there to do?’. So back in 2015 as most of my friends were counting down the days ’til they moved away, I was holding onto every second that I had left at home. I had several mini break downs (some not so mini) as it hit me that in however many days I would have to leave. As many of my friends saw it as the start of a new journey I most definitely saw it as the end of my old, simple, yet lovely one.
When I first moved to uni all I could do was tell myself that ‘it’s not forever’. And in my case, it most definitely was not forever…
Year One : Take One
Something I learnt very quickly when I first moved away was that even the people who are counting down the days to leave home are still just as scared as you are, but they’re just more ready to deal with those changes.
Of course I was expecting the first few weeks at uni to be weird. It’s such a big change to your life, and daily routine, no one expects you to get used to it at the drop of a hat. To say I never settled in in my first year would be a lie, but I definitely wouldn’t say I enjoyed spending my time there. In fact, I was never really there. I spent every week counting down the days to the weekend where I could hop on the train home – but spent all weekend dreading the Monday morning where I would have to go back.
I suppose you could say I didn’t really give myself chance to settle in, but that was just my way of dealing with change, and in a weird little way it worked for me.
When I first realised I definitely wasn’t enjoying the course I was on it didn’t even occur to me that there would be other options. That it’s actually normal for some people to not gel with the course, or even the people on it. Yes, I made a few ‘friends’ there, but as pretentious as it sounds I just always knew that they weren’t really my kind of people. (This doesn’t apply to every single person, there was the odd one that I liked).
It wasn’t until my boyfriend, Sam had his audition for Leeds College of Music that I realised that maybe there are other options for me. Before even saying how his audition went, he told me “you need to audition here, it’s so much better” and “this course is made for you”. At first I was like, meh, such fuss. But then all it took was the courage to admit that I was unhappy and a good old cry to my mum, for me to realise that I should audition… and I am so happy that I did. (Please don’t think I only auditioned because Sam was going there because that is NOT the case).
Without being cliché and cringe, that audition changed my life. I started to develop unknown feelings of actual excitement to go away and start a fresh.
Year One: Take Two
I knew right away that uni would be better this time around because I couldn’t wait to leave. I finally became one of the friends who counted down the days to go. Who’d have thought it, ay? I mean, I still cried when my mum left but that’s obligatory.
This year was like finding the new, better person of myself. I still get homesick from time to time, and I’ll always be a home bird at heart. But this time round I gelled with the people at my uni straight away, found the close friends that were absent in my previous year, and I actually left my flat during freshers week (and not just to food shop).
University brings so many new and exciting opportunities. It gives you confidence and independence that I never thought I would have. You hear so many stories from people about how university has changed their lives, but this might not be for everyone. Obviously there are other career paths, and you can find happiness in all sorts of places. But the most valuable thing I have learnt from changing universities is that change isn’t always a bad thing and you shouldn’t be afraid of it. I can guarantee that most people will feel sad and homesick when they first move to uni, even if they wont admit it. For some, those feelings will probably go away, but for others… it’s ok if they don’t.
If you have had a similar experience with uni, or are worried about moving away then let me know in the comments below. Just remember that there’s always other options and you should never feel scared to admit to yourself that things aren’t going well.
L J x