Submitted by Charlotte Beauchamp on 21 January 2018 - 11:06pm
Living away from home for university is a unique experience that comes with both its perks and downfalls. But what I’m going to be focusing on in this blog post is the confusing situation you are put in as a student that no one really warns you about. What I’m talking about is living as a completely independent adult for months at a time and then having to move back home over the holidays (each a month long, not including the summer holidays) and experience yourself being reverted back to the adolescent you were treated as, as recently as the summer before university started.
When the Christmas holidays came around this was something I was completely unprepared for, and as much as I had missed my family and as wonderful as they were being, pretty soon into being home I felt like I was experiencing low-key cabin fever. Gone were all the extensive freedoms that I had so quickly become used to over the first term and all I could do was look forward to going back to university.
For those that have moved away from home for university this will most likely be your first time living on your own and with this great freedom comes this great feeling of responsibility, you are after all an adult now…right? You learn very quickly that you do your laundry because if you don’t it simply doesn’t get done. The same goes for cleaning or other menial tasks, but on the flip side you also no longer have anyone telling you to be home or have to explain yourself to anyone. This leaves you with this new territory where you have to decide what your priorities are, what you sacrifice for what. For example, sacrificing sleep if you choose to both go to a morning lecture and go out the night before, or vice versa sacrificing a night out with mates for a good nights sleep and making the morning lecture, and so it continues. Having to find that self-discipline for ourselves means we are thrown into something that feels a lot like adulthood. This to varying degrees will be what you might’ve expected from starting university but whether you enjoy this independence or not it is still the reality of our situation for months at a time.
But finding this balance is harder than it seems when you find yourself going from one extreme to the other as term time comes and goes and the month-long holidays at home roll back around and I don’t think I’m the only one feeling this way. The more I spoke to other students about this over the Christmas holiday I found more and more felt exactly the same way, they just weren’t sure how to put it into words other than a feeling of desperation to get back to university.
Of course when it came time to leave I immediately regretted having wished away so many days at home, but once I was settled back in my room and unpacked it was like a breath of fresh air. Now I’ve been back at university for a week and the Christmas holidays and the feelings that came with living back at home already feel like a distant memory. But the Easter holidays will come around soon enough and many students like me will be put back in this awkward position. I don’t have the answers on how to solve this problem but I think the sooner we acknowledge that this is a shared experience for many students living away from home, the less guilty or confused we can start to feel about it.