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Advice for feeling nervous about leaving home

You might be moving to a new city or even a new country for university. If this is the case, you’re probably feeling nervous. We understand. First, it’s important to recognise this is completely normal. Of course, you are nervous – you’ll be in new surroundings, with a new language, and you’ll be studying for a degree or other qualification. But remember that this is also one of the most exciting times of your life. We often make some of our best and life-long friends at university and you’ll grow into the individual you will be. So, here’s our advice for feeling nervous about leaving home for university, so you can keep your concerns manageable and stay focussed on the exciting new journey ahead of you.

Research your new town or city

You might feel nervous about moving because you don’t know what to expect when you get there. If that’s the case, spend some time researching where you’ll be moving to. By this we mean the town or city you’re going to, your university campus, residence halls (if you’re staying in halls), local facilities etc. When you finally get moved in and get to know your new flatmates, you can explore the new area. Here’s a list of things you could find online. Save them down on your maps app so you know what’s about and you’re all set to get your bearings when you arrive.

  1. Find your accommodation
  2. University campus and the main buildings you’ll be using
  3. Local libraries or co-working spaces
  4. Grocery shops or supermarkets near your accommodation
  5. Local parks and what facilities they have
  6. Gyms with student membership (if you’re a gym goer)
  7. What clubs and societies does the university offer? If there’s none that really interest you, think about what you might like to set up yourself.

Speak to your friends and family about your concerns

If you have friends going to university at the same time as you, the chances are that they will be feeling a little anxious too. It’s never a good idea to bottle things up, so tell them about how you’re feeling and listen to them if they feel the same. Some of your friends will be more excited than others, so remember that you all come from different places. Your family members will be sympathetic too. Your siblings, parents or guardians might have gone to university when they were your age too and so probably understand exactly how you’re feeling. Plus, they might be feeling as anxious about you moving away from home as you are! Try to understand that parents always worry and so you could reassure them that whilst you are feeling nervous, you’ll be safe and only a phone call away. 

Remember why you’re going

We understand that everyone has different reasons for choosing to go to university. You might have chosen yours because of the quality or reputation of the qualification. Or, you might have chosen it to get to the city. Whatever it is that led you to apply, when you’re feeling a little apprehensive about the move, try to focus on those reasons to lift your spirits and levels of excitement. 

Throw yourself into your new life

We understand that students will want to remain and feel connected to their life back home. This might mean regular calls or video calls to your family or staying in constant contact with your friends from your hometown on social media. This can of course be comforting when you’re feeling a little homesick. However, holding on to your life at home in this way can also be detrimental to how you’re settling in your new life. If you’re not fully engaged in what’s going on, you might struggle to form new and genuine relationships with the other students. Try to remember that everyone’s in the same boat. 

Get to know your new flatmates properly. How about cooking a meal together? It might be a nice idea to make and share a dish from wherever you are from. If you’re feeling homesick at university, treating yourself to food or treats from your country can be really comforting. If you and your flatmates are all from different places, maybe you can take turns to cook something for each other. 

And joining a couple of clubs or societies allows you to get to know like-minded people and maybe make new friends. Plus, getting involved in lots of activities now and throughout your time at university is really positive for your CV when it comes to applying for placements and employment after university.

Get planning and packing

You might find that getting your things together will help distract you and get you excited for the move. Think about everything you’ll need for your new flat and decide what’s best to buy now and take with you, and what is best to get after you’ve arrived. You might also want to check with your new flatmates what they are bringing with them. You don’t want to end up with 5 colanders in the kitchen but no knives! If you know who you’ll be living with and have their details already, how about setting up a Whatsapp group to decide who is bringing what with them? This will save you money and valuable space in your kitchen and living space. 

When you arrive, you might want to go on an outing to pick up some bits and pieces to make the place a little more homely. Things like cushions, throws and fairy lights can brighten up even the most basic student accommodation. Here’s a basic packing list to get you thinking:

Bedroom

  • Duvet, pillows and bedding linens
  • Small desk light or bedside lamp
  • Clothing hangers
  • Decorative things like a houseplant or a throw
  • Things that remind you of home like pictures in frames 
  • Clothes and shoes (only bring what you need as student accommodation storage will be limited).

Kitchen

  • Saucepans, frying pan, baking trays
  • Cutlery
  • Plates, bowls, mugs, glasses
  • Useful utensils like spatulas, graters, sharp knives  etc
  • Chopping boards
  • Tea towels, cloths and washing up sponges.

Bathroom

  • Towels, bathrobe
  • Shower caddy (if you share a bathroom)
  • Plastic flip-flops (if you share a bathroom).

Other 

  • Laptop and any other devices you use for study
  • Important documents like your passport and any visa print outs you need 
  • Notebooks and stationery for your studies.

Look up the support that’s available before you get there

If you anticipate that you might struggle with homesickness and anxiety when you get to university, well done for being aware of your mental health. Our final piece of advice for feeling nervous about leaving home is that it might be a good idea to look into the support available at uni so that you can use it before things get too hard. UWS have a service called Silvercloud, which is completely free for UWS students. It’s an online resource with tonnes of information and guided CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) that helps with everyday challenges like stress, anxiety and homesickness. 

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