5 tips on feeling at home when moving away for university

Friday, January 26, 2018
I've seen posts like this all over the internet in the past but they've always been a bit wishy-washy for my liking. I've read the whole 'decorate your room with blankets and posters and cute cushions' take way too many times. I wanted to offer some alternative tips to help you feel more at home in university halls and in a new town or city.

Photo by Aleksi Tappura on Unsplash

1. Find solace in supermarkets. 🍏
A weird one to start off with, but supermarkets were pretty much my fave place to be. You've been food shopping a hundred times, whether alone or with your mum and/or dad. It's not an alien concept. It's probably one of the most familiar things you'll have when you move away. Enjoy shopping for yourself. I found it weirdly therapeutic because food shopping is just so... normal. I made sure to never go food shopping if I was on a time limit so that I could take as long as I wanted and do a successful job.

2. Get to know your new surroundings. 🏙
An obvious one. You have to explore your new town or city, there's nothing more anxiety-inducing than not knowing where the hell you are. As sad as it sounds, I spent hours upon hours on Google Maps getting to know York and all its little streets and alleys. I wanted to start university and know exactly where to go. By the time I started, I knew where the local shops were, I knew the quickest way to town, I knew how to get to uni and back, I knew where the train station was and how to get to it, I knew where the local cinema was and I knew where I could order takeaway. However it did mean that I was basically a tour guide for my flatmates when we all moved in. This made me feel like I was a true 'Yorkie'.

3. Spend time in the library. 📚
Whether this is the university's library or a public one, libraries are comforting and largely stress-free. Even when I didn't have a lot of work to do, I would chill in the university library because it was a nice comfy environment - they had big sofas, loads of desk space, and there was an entire 'quiet floor' for those who wanted to work in peace. I would always go to the big desks that faced the entrance so I could people watch. I often took my laptop and a notebook so if I actually wanted to write an essay I could, or if I just wanted to browse Tumblr and Twitter somewhere differently to my bedroom I could.

Photo by Mia Baker on Unsplash

4. TEXT your friends and family. 📱
I emphasise the word TEXT because honestly, every time I had a phone call with my mum I would cry. I got incredibly homesick and hearing my mum's voice made me miss home even more, so texting was better for me especially if I was on the go. I liked dropping my mum a text on my way to uni, or chatting to my friends on Facebook Messenger while I was having lunch. It felt more casual, it felt like I was back at home and nothing was different. If you prefer calling to texting, you do you, but I found texting to be a little more relaxed and it wouldn't make me as sad. I would usually save FaceTiming my mum for the evenings when I was done with the day and chilling in my PJs eating dinner, and more often than not she'd be doing the same thing.

5. Have a pyjama day or two, and don't feel guilty about it. 👕
You have them at home, why not in halls? I remember one Sunday I spent the entire day in my pyjamas and only left my room twice to get food. Turns out everyone else in the flat was doing the same thing because I didn't hear a peep all day. We didn't see each other until the following morning. I think solitary pyjama days are necessary. There's no need to force yourself out the flat every day, there's no need to get dressed for nothing. If you've got work to do, get your swankiest PJs on and crack on. I found these kind of days the most normal for me - I'd get a film up on Netflix or listen to music with my headphones on and for a while I'd forget where I was.

I hope at least some of these tips were helpful.

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