Although university terms are only just beginning, some of you might have already moved into your new accommodation. For returning students, this is a return to freedom after a summer of confinement.
For those of you starting university, moving away from home for the first time can be daunting and terrifying. I know I was extremely nervous. I am not a party-girl, I hate clubbing and I find socialising to be – quite frankly – hard. Moving into uni accommodation therefore had me extremely worried. Would I make friends? Would I be lonely? How much will I miss home?
Whether you are confident or shy, these are no doubt just a few of the questions playing around your mind. You walk into a completely blank room, you know no one (even if you have had a little contact with future flat-mates beforehand) and you somehow have to make the best out of it all. The first thing to understand is; you aren’t alone. Most of the people surrounding you right now will be feeling the same thing even if they are hiding it. This is by no means an odd feeling.
My second piece of advice is to stick it out. You might be missing home more than you think was possible right now. But stay away. Going home will not make it any easier. It will make it harder to go back again and result in it taking even longer to settle in. Try and last a month/six weeks before you book your first train home. It sounds harsh to say it, but the majority of us get over the homesickness. You just have to give it a little time. If after six weeks it is still terrible, then maybe you can have a think about your best course of action. But give it time.
Your flat-mates are just that; flat mates. They don’t have to be your best friends. Don’t be worried if you find they are not the sort of people you would usually socialise with. There are course-mates still to come, societies to join and random people you’ll bump into doing who-knows-what. It’s fantastic if you do get on with those you live with. At the end of the day, you will have friends. It doesn’t matter if they are not the first people that you meet.
Bring something from home with you. Something to make your room feel like yours on that first night away from home. A teddy. A favourite poster. A cushion. Anything that makes you look at your room and say “Yes. That’s my room.” You don’t want to leave it as the blank canvas you walked in on any longer than you have to.
My final piece of advice is don’t panic. Once you’ve settled in, those first few days or even weeks away from home feel like a distant memory. There are people to talk to if the feelings don’t fade, but you’ll be amazed at what you can overcome.