There’s a lot of people right now talking about starting university, and the build up, however you rarely see anyone talk about what to expect once that part of your life is over.
Every person is different, just as starting university for some people can be the most challenging experience of their lives, so can leaving it all behind…
University is one of the most important periods in the lives of those who choose to go. It is a fresh start, the growth of independence, and where you truly find yourself as a person.
So many people, myself included, go to university and experience a new way of living which makes them want to leave behind their old lifestyle all together. I realized how unhappy I was in school, with the people I was hanging around with, and my family life. I got a fresh chance to make friends with people who genuinely shared my interests, cook for myself, and never had to worry about tiptoeing around certain family members who caused me daily upset.
I made the best friends ever, lived the student life to the fullest, and found talents that I never knew I had! (I went from couch potato to winning a highly prestigious sports award).
And then it was over, and I had to move home.
Here is some tips on how to deal with it.
Recognize when you fall into old habits – before I went to university I didn’t express a lot of independence, and when I returned home I began falling back into this habit. It was little things, like not doing my own washing, or leaving my dishes to be done by my parent at the end of the day. If you want to maintain your independence, keep up your university living habits, it will keep your adult mentality going.
Continue your new hobbies – in my 6th form days my hobbies could be summed up with ‘reading and listening to Pendulum/30 Seconds to Mars, compared to University where they came ‘dancing and photography’. When I first moved back into my childhood bedroom I found myself wanting to listen to old music. There’s nothing wrong with this, it was obviously an association thing, however after a few weeks I realized my dancing equipment was lying under a pile of unpacked junk. I kept beating myself up over it, I began struggling to find the interest and motivation to try it at home, but remember – it DID make you happy for all those years, NOTHING HAS CHANGED, only the location. Keep it up!
Your parents are dealing with this too – you are not the only one in the household who is struggling with the concept of returning after 3 years of independence. Before you left for university you were a teenager, who knew nothing better than your parents comforts, and now you are an adult. If you haven’t spent much time at home during these years then they haven’t seen the development into the fine adult you have become, so it will take time for them to adjust too. Little reminders of your new found independence will help them.
The end of university is a new chapter, plan what follows – while some people will be happy to return home, the majority of my university friends see their return to home as a step back. Ask yourself why you have returned home. For me, it is so I can afford to study a Masters from October, so yes I have a void at the moment, but soon I will see the progression. For some people who feel like they are going nowhere, you have a degree now, congratulations! There is a whole world of employers out there, and while the job climate is far from good for graduates, something will come along eventually. Moving home is never permanent, it is just a platform for you to use your three years of great experience to get the career that you deserve. Always look ahead.
Be a tourist in your home town – I’ve found this so helpful to keep my mind occupied and stop me from falling into old habits. I moved from England to Wales for university, and the experience of living in a new place was one of the most rewarding elements of student life. Upon moving back to Newcastle I was overcome with a feeling of, ‘back to this place, oh no’. However, there was so much that I had not explored before I left for university, mostly because I had no interest in life outside of my bedroom. University made me more outward looking, and by having numerous adventures around the area I can see Newcastle in a totally different light. In a way, it is like living in a totally new city.
I hope these tips have helped, I have been relying on them a lot to keep myself busy after leaving a city 250 miles away that I grew to call my home.
I may be gone, but I will always have the memories and experiences, and there is a whole world and life out there ready to be lived.