If you’ve been following me from the beginning (thanks to those who have) you will know that I moved over 150 miles away to start university. I went through clearing and originally I never planned on moving for uni, but life had other plans! I had just under 6 months to save, sort out accommodation, and all the other joys that come with moving!
There are many things that I wish I knew before starting uni. Not just as a student nurse, but as a someone moving away from home for the first time. So here are some of the things I’ve learnt since moving away for uni.
It’s okay to feel homesick!
I moved to Leicester on a Friday. I remember this because I remember being on my own for the first weekend whilst listening to other students getting ready to go out and feeling a bit lost. The first couple of weeks was really tough. I was still trying to find out where I would fit in. Had I done the right thing? Would I be able to handle living away from home? What if I failed? I was lucky to have full support of my parents who (in the nicest possible way) told me not to visit home for at least a month. This gave me chance to work through the feelings of missing home, to give myself chance to build a routine, and be able to support myself. After the first month I visited home, and then became excited to go back to my little home in Leicester!
Check whether your student finance will cover your way of life.
I had been in full time employment for a number of years before going back to university. This meant that I was used to a (kind of) full wage. Going back to university and living off student finance was a big blow to me, but because I already knew this when I got accepted I was able to save as much as I could and looked for a little part time job when I moved. To this day I still have this job and it’s nice to be able to have a small amount of income for myself. Although it’s very difficult when I’m working 40 hours a week on placement for free (but that’s another issue).
Be prepared to lose contact with friends.
Since I’ve moved for uni, I’ve realised that you don’t need to be in contact with someone regularly to still be friends. There’s people in my life that I only tend to see when I come home for a bit and even though we can go months without seeing each other, it’s like nothing has changed. But then on the flip side, there are people that have made the effort to stay in contact with me and we have become closer!
Only pack essentials!
When I first moved for uni I tried to pack as much stuff as I possibly could. Although from my time at uni I’ve realised that there’s many things of mine that i could have left at home or could have even gotten rid of! It’s quite easy to want to keep hold of things “just in case” and the next thing you know you have a whole cupboard full of stuff that you don’t need!
Prioritise your studies!
Now I know that most people moving away for university will end up living in student accommodation, where you might meet people from different courses, different backgrounds and become the closest of friends. The “student life” has the reputation of being a boozy one. There are many pubs and clubs that advertise themselves to students. They have midweek event, cheap drinks, and it is very easy to be persuaded into a night out on a Wednesday! All I will say is be smart about it. Luckily for me I’ve already experienced the “student life” so going out midweek didn’t appeal to me (it takes me even longer to recover than before). Know your limits and make sure you prioritise your learning. Being a student nurse is completely different to being any other student. Most other student don’t understand that missed lectures can come back and haunt us in the future for jobs. Explain to them the importance of your course and maybe rearrange for a time where you can justify letting your hair down for a bit!
Ultimately, what I have learnt is to have fun. Yes I make sure my work is done, yes I have to be employed to make ends meet, but I’m absolutely loving what I do. It’s the hardest and most stressful thing. But it’s also the best and proudest I’ve ever been of myself. Make the most of it and have fun!