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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SOAS London chapter.

You might find it almost unfathomable to leave behind the familiarity of your country to explore a place you once always dreamt of. Call it overthinking, but it really gives you an overwhelming surge of emotions around what home truly is. Is it where we grew up, the people we surround ourselves with, or is it this dormitory with fairy lights, random polaroids and photo booth pictures pinned to the soft-board? I kid you not, those pictures may look cute but that really does not mean we are happy. In fact, living alone really makes you question every emotion you’ve ever felt. But hey, lets break it down until we find comfort in this spiral.  

You’ve just moved into your dorm; this is where you collapse on the bed with your suitcases surrounding you, releasing a sigh of relief to finally have a place to lie down after a (possibly) long-haul flight. You have a quick glance out the window and think it’s a complete Emily in Paris vibe. The problem is, you probably dragged those suitcases to your room yourself, so you can minus the expectations of concierge from the get-go. From now on, it’s your girl bossing era. I mean it. From carrying suitcases to grocery baskets (in my case even a chair for my desk!) welcome to being your own hero. I know you are confused at this stage, naturally so, but there is immense power in being independent. You learn there is more strength in you than you ever believed.

Start decorating your room

A cute plant from your nearby home store is your best friend. I named my plant Pumpkin, which is ironic, because it’s a cactus that will never bear a flower, let alone fruit. There is a good chance my lack of plant knowledge preceded my love for the plant, but let’s not dive down that road.  


At first, I shied away from meeting new people. Do not, and I say it once more, do not do that to yourself. Meet and interact with as many people as you can. It’s a bonus if you study at an institution like SOAS, University of London (surprise, I study here!), which is super diverse, a vibe like Dubai’s Global Village. Having people from different backgrounds teaches you a lot about other cultures, and helps you develop a deeper understanding of yourself too. Plus, don’t fixate on it if a friend group does not instantly click. Instead, float through groups until you find who you really resonate with. Good friends will never weigh you down or make you feel guilty for not aligning all your beliefs with them – be your own person darling!

Eat well

I mean it, you need healthy nutritious food. Living a five-minute walk away from Pizza Union was detrimental because despite the pleasure I gained by having pizza for dinner every day, (my childhood self was skipping with joy), I really missed a warm, comforting curry. Learn a few family recipes along the way, and ensure you have your 5-a-day intake of fruits. I used to get through an entire packet of Satsuma oranges from Tesco; I was really living the Ratatouille dream, where Ego reminisced his childhood memories. 

Explore the city!

Explore; especially when you move out to one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the world, complete with magnificent views and lots of historical sights.

Most importantly, remember that you built this reality for yourself; you are studying at your dream school! Don’t ever forget how brave you are for coming this far and have gratitude for the family and friends that helped you navigate through. You are stronger than you think, and it only gets better from here. Trust me, from one sister to another! 

Eymaan Zubair

SOAS London '25

A work in progress lawyer, dreamer and an avid reader. I hope my words help you find hope in the darkness and the extraordinary in the ordinary, we are in this together – one step at a time.