The image of University presented to us by the media while growing up has always been that of the young 18-year-old student embarking on their university journey in a completely unfamiliar city, hours away from them, excited to start their new life.
But that wasn’t the reality for me. The thought of moving miles away from my hometown and my family terrified me. What if I don’t make any friends? What if I get homesick? What if I don’t like the accommodation? With all these ‘what ifs’ running through my brain, deciding on a University was honestly a struggle for me. Ultimately, I decided that the best choice for me would be to stay in Nottingham for University and still move out, in an effort to get the ‘full uni experience’.
Seems like the best of both worlds right? It is – yet the thought of it still terrified me. I still remember the anxiety that I felt on the first day when I moved into halls; being surrounded by people I didn’t know, in an unfamiliar environment and having to force myself to make friends was extremely out of my comfort zone. Although I was a mere car journey away from home, I felt worlds away from the life I had been used to. But fast forward just a day later, and it seemed to have been one of the best decisions I had made. You soon realise that everyone is in the same boat, and I actually seemed to adapt quite well to my new lifestyle.
As a current second year, when I reflect on my time at University so far, I’m so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and moved out, whilst having the reassurance that I can go home whenever I wish to. I will admit, I did go home far more than I needed to in my first year, and I didn’t follow the classic advice of trying to make it a term at University before going home. After all, I was so nervous that those anxieties wouldn’t just go away overnight.
As of now however, I find living away from home much easier than I did a year ago, so much so that I’m considering moving to London for a post-grad (I know, shocking considering I struggled to leave the confines of Nottingham for so long). The independence and life skills which I have developed whilst living in halls, and now in a student house, have been invaluable, and I have made the best friends along the way. Throughout the past year and a half, I have also found a surprising amount of people in the same boat as me; more people are nervous about moving cities than you think!
So I guess the point that I’m trying to make is that moving out for University, even if you are living in the same city, is entirely worth it, and can provide some much-needed stability if you are prone to homesickness like I am. Everybody’s university experience is different, and it doesn’t have to follow the conventional one drilled into our brains while growing up!