English Literature and Creative and Professional Writing student Charlotte writes about moving away from home.
Going to university is a scary thing to do and I was one that questioned whether I was able to cope with the workload and being independent from my parents.
I found out during my first year, after all this questioning, that it was the best decision I’ve ever made, being the happiest I’ve ever been and studying something I absolutely love.
The support at Worcester is incredible, with its array of sports and societies to choose from, with wonderful staff and beautiful surroundings, it doesn’t get much better.
Leaving home, away from the safety of the people you live with, can be a daunting experience. And not knowing where to start when it comes to the art of “adult-ing” doesn’t help you trying to settle into a new place.
I admit, I was lucky. My parents had me trained up on the domestic side of things, as well as several budget sheets. I am imparting their wisdom for you, to (hopefully) help you out when you move out into halls and make the whole experience a little less stressful.
So here are my top ten tips to getting the hang of all things you have to do when you actually move out:
- Learn the basics!
It’s very useful to know how to wash your clothes, because, let’s face it, smelling awful, with ketchup stains all over your top, is never the best way to make new friends. You should learn all the little things, such as:
- Cleaning (both kitchen and bathroom, as well as dusting etc.)
- Budgeting and banking
- Shopping (and not buying things that you don’t need or can’t afford)
- Sewing (I know, I know, but it’s useful to know how to sew on a button on your coat that you break)
- …And then start doing those things for yourself…
Do all the things above (you might even earn some money off your parents!) to help your parents out and when you move out, it’ll make everything a lot easier to do. Practice makes perfect!
- Do a week’s worth of shopping for yourself
I put a lot of emphasis on this one (hence it being a separate tip). It’s surprising how expensive food is and trying to work out portion sizes for just one person can be a bit of a minefield.
While you’re at home, in the summer holidays, have a budget of £20 and see what you can buy for yourself for a whole week. You might even surprise yourself.
You could always do toiletries and up your budget to £30 (as these things usually last a lot longer than a week and you’ve got to take this into account).
Most people know how to stick a curry in the microwave and most people know how to make spaghetti bolognese, so maybe find something which is easy, cheap, different and edible (which is always a help) to make.
Maybe a chilli or a homemade chunky soup which you could make for your flatmates or some friends to break up cooking every night for yourself.
- Pack minimum things (but things that make it homey)
You won’t have a huge amount of room in halls, so bring useful little things and things, such as photos of friends and family with you to make your room comfy and homely.
- Bring the important stuff
Things such as passports, prescriptions and student finance are important things to bring with you. Make sure these things are up to date and ask your parents if they can get these things out of their own paperwork boxes.
You will be asked to bring paperwork when you collect your keys on moving in day, so things like this are important to keep in a plastic wallet, safe and separate from your boxes of kitchen equipment and bedding.
- Social media and phone contracts
Not everyone is really close with their family, but you’ll want to ask them about odd things that crop up and catch up with them and tell them all about the new things you’re doing at uni.
Messaging them over social media, like Facebook, or phoning them really helps when you might want a helping hand. Get a phone contract which allows you to phone them and friends without worrying about huge bills.
- Don’t be afraid
Talk to people and make friends. Joining societies and clubs, talking to your flatmates and not hide in your room. Making new friends helps you settle in quicker and know that the first person you meet isn’t going to be your best buddy for the rest of your three years.
But everyone’s scared and wants to make these new relationships just as much as you which helps give you a support system outside of those back at home.
Before you move in, Facebook groups are set up for all the halls (though be careful to make sure that these are run by the University), so you can chat to people in your halls and flats and get to know them before you turn up!
- Know that it’s all normal
It’s normal to be a little homesick. It can sometimes be hard to learn to live with a lot of other people in close quarters but it teaches you patience and empathy.
- We can help
Everyone is nervous moving out, so you’re not the only one. The University have people in Firstpoint that can help you if you’re struggling and want any advice on any aspect of university life, including homesickness.
I followed these tips and it honestly made my first year at Worcester the best year of my life!
We all have ups and downs but knowing that I could cope with all the normal things I had to do meant that I didn’t have to stress.
And if you can do all these things, it means your family won’t worry about you nearly as much either.