Tuesday 18 August 2020

Moving Back Home After Uni

Sam shares his experience and advice for looking after your wellbeing when moving back to the family home after university .

- Sam McElhattan

Moving Home 
Moving out of your student house and back to your old dwellings can be a huge shock to the system. From my experience, you can no longer get away with leaving your dirty dishes on the kitchen side for a day. You don’t get to decide what you have for dinner every evening. You can’t stay in bed all morning without having anyone bother you. On the plus side, you don’t have to do all the food shopping, you might have a bit more room to breathe and you’re living in a much cleaner home. If you’re anything like me, living in your student house during lockdown brought a strange mix of freedom and homesickness, and the thought of moving back home filled you with both dread and relief.   

They say the moving house is one of the most stressful life events that can happen to you. If you haven’t already, it’s important to recognise that you are dealing with something very significant. It’s okay if you’re finding it difficult. 

Communication and Compromise
If you’re getting irritated by some of the lifestyle changes and compromises you’re having to deal with, remember that your family are adapting to having another person in their house too. We have all heard how important routine is at the moment and your routine may not align with your family’s. If you’re frustrated by something, try to talk to your family about how you feel. They might not have realised you were feeling that way. See if you can both compromise and be happy. 

As a student, or new graduate, you might be looking for some form of temporary or more permanent employment during this time . From my experience, job hunting, when everyone but you is out of the house at work, provides plenty of boredom; it can also be discouraging and lonely. But it’s easy to forget that most of your friends are more than likely in the same situation as you. Even if it doesn’t look that way from their social media, you don’t know until you ask. Now might be a great time to message those people you’ve been meaning to catch up with and have a good old natter. And make it a video call – our brains get more out of seeing the face of the person we are talking to than only hearing their voice. Don’t let it be one of those “Alright, thanks. How about you?” conversations. Say how you feel. Your friends might be going something similar and conversations with friends can be a great way to talk through things that you don’t want to tell your family about.    

If you’re really noticing the silence during the day at home, I would really recommend podcasts. They are a great way to keep your mind engaged, whether you listen intently to the discussion or simply have them playing for some background noise – there’s a massive range of genres and they’re all free! Plus, if you’re not someone who’s happy to park in front of the TV, binge-watching all day, the good thing about podcasts is you can walk, exercise or cook at the same time. 

Celebrate What You Have
Living in a student house often feels more exciting, more independent and more fun than living with your family. It’s important to acknowledge what you have given up. Don’t dwell on something if it’s going to make you miserable, but think about all the great things that you had, and be grateful that you had them, if only temporarily. It probably feels like you didn’t get a chance to mark the end of the academic year, especially if you’re in your final year. But you are still worth celebrating! Even if you can’t do it in a traditional way, see if you can mark your hard work and experience. As lame as they seem compared to a traditional graduation, the virtual graduation events are still pretty good, so find out if your uni has anything on (and search ‘dear class of 2020’ on YouTube). Enjoy this time where you are and are not a student. Post a picture on your social media, send thank you cards to your lecturers, talk to your friends about your memories from uni, and make a graduation cap out of card. Don’t let your location get in the way of you celebrating your achievements through the academic year, you’ve earned it.     

Visit the Student Minds website for more information about student living and mental health. 

Hello, I’m Sam! I’m a recent graduate of Drama & Screen Studies at the University of Manchester. I volunteer with Student Minds as a member of the Men’s Mental Health Committee. 

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