In the next instalment of University based posts I thought I would write about changing relationships at university with friends and family. (One thing to note is that this is my experience and it doesn’t mean that this will or will not happen to you so take it in your stride) Anyway, this wasn’t something I was really at all worried about until about 2 days before uni and then it hit me…
What if I don’t make friends? What if I don’t find ‘my people’? What if I get homesick? The list goes on.
I freaked out and there was a nagging anxiety in the back of my mind and I felt so nervous because I hadn’t had to make friends in 15 years, I convinced myself I’d forgotten how. It was bad and when I finally got to my halls and we were lugging all my things up the stairs, I got so nervous I compartmentalised and began to just focus on things I could control aka organising my room. But this then stressed me out more because I had 8 family members drop me off, meaning 8 family members trying to organise me, which didn’t go down well. I got overwhelmed and on top of that I had my sisters telling me to go say hi to my flatmates who had moved in. And I couldn’t deal with it all, I was freaked out.
Sorry about the filter, I lost the original and my sister loves a filter
And then people started leaving, my room started clearing and the goodbyes were hard, but not as hard as I thought they’d be. Because whilst my family left, there was a whole new group of people to meet and get to know waiting in the kitchen for me. It was a distraction in some ways because I didn’t have time to wallow, I had to go and make friends. And walking into the kitchen following a couple of other people and having to just talk was weird but in a really nice way.
Because the thing is, everyone’s in the same boat.
When you get to uni, everyone doesn’t have the stability of family around them and you’re on your own, the stabilisers have come off. And whilst it’s scary it actually makes for the best environment to make friends because everyone wants to do the same thing. People are engaged and actually care. So take advantage of it because its perhaps ones of the only times in your life when you’ll be faced with a sea of anxious people who feel the same as you and want the same thing.
First impressions aren’t everything.
We then all sat in the kitchen for a while and talked. I was so nervous I couldn’t stop smiling, laughing at everything and making awkward jokes because that’s my default but it was okay because no one else even noticed because everyone’s so worried about how their coming across. One thing to note is these impressions will one day be funny memories about how you thought your best friend was a bitch because of the way she sat. Yes, that was me… sorry Mills.
And all you can do is talk. For a week. Talking. A seemingly foreign concept right? But that’s what you do day in, day out for a week to get to know people and as much as it takes it out of you, because constant social engagement is HARD, it’s all worth it to make you feel a little bit more stable. And that’s how you make friends, lads. That and alcohol worked well for me, but alcohol isn’t necessary for this at all. If we can do it sober at 5, we can make friends sober at 18…
Happy Tears. I promise…
Meanwhile… all this exciting stuff is happening, your family will be back at home hoping this is all happening for you. And I think in order to take the leap, relax and enjoy yourself at uni you have to have faith that everyone is happy and supporting you, which I promise you they 100% are. They really are tears of joy and you’ve worked too hard to not enjoy it. Freshers is like a reward for putting yourself through hell just to get there so enjoy it.
But homesickness is a thing, it’s real and it hits everyone at some point. For me it was mid October, I literally lasted a month before I called my mama crying to come home…lol. And I think it didn’t hit me til then because as I said I was distracted and so happy. It took that long for me to realise the change that had happened in my life over that month. But that’s okay. You’re starting, arguably the most important time in your life and you deserve, after the toil and stress of the British Education System, to relax and enjoy it . And your family will feel the same way.
Putting up photos really helped me
And don’t be worried about keeping in contact. Friends or family. Nowadays, no one’s ever more than a phone call away, all you have to do is pick up the phone and I would bet money on them being beyond happy to receive that all. But if you are really worried about it, plan it. Plan to call them every week, every two days or even every day if you need to, I know I did.
Finally, visit them. Now this may be tricky depending on where you are but if you can get on a train home, do it. If not for you then your parents because I promise you that will be the best present for them ever, even if it’s for a day. Uni is a massive adjustment and not just for you, for everyone in your life and it’s important to consider this and keep it in mind.
That’s my experience and tips for changing relationships with family and friends. Just remember, people change, relationships change but as long as there’s 100% reciprocation from each side, they’ll keep progressing and stay strong.