Wellbeing Champion, Tsvetina, shares some guidance for those moving back home for the summer and those leaving University altogether…
It’s that time of the year again and everyone is packing away to go home. Going back to see your family can be an exciting and heartwarming experience, but it involves a transition which may not be as pleasant as we have expected. Being back home means that you may have to adjust to living with your family again which can be even more challenging if you have adopted the student life with all of its freedoms.
One of the major factors that may influence your experience of transitioning is the change of environment that inevitably comes with moving out. You may be graduating, going away for the summer to work or just staying with your family – nevertheless things will change for you as another year at University has passed.
People tend to perceive change as an experience with rather negative connotations. In fact, change offers room for both development and challenge. The simple act of moving forward can be rewarding – as individuals, we are meant to live actively and go through different stages of our lives while learning from each one. Changing, in one way or another, can be a liberating transformation as long as you embrace it.
Remember that what you are as a person comes from all the changes and novelties that have occurred during your life journey and the way you have responded to them. Even if a transition seems like a devastating experience if it suddenly brings up more cons than pros, you will definitely learn from it more if you allow it to be your teacher rather than your punishment.
Top tips for settling back home
You may think that home will always be your most familiar and comforting place, but if you haven’t visited it for a while, it may seem a bit odd at first.
Give yourself some time
Don’t have high expectations of your first few days back home. Surely, you will be happy to see your family and old friends after a long time but it is very likely that not everything will be the same. Be accepting and understanding if you discover that your parents’ habits have changed or that your old school friend does not share as many things in common with you as before.
Be an adult
A lot of students tend to regress to their high school selves once their parents take on the cooking, cleaning and tidying up for them again. Remember that being at University is about growing personally as well as intellectually, so don’t go too deep into the comfort of being a teenager again. Help out with household chores and make sure your parents realise they need to respect your privacy and not try too hard to implement their own views on what you should do.
Be tolerant to your parents/carers
Perhaps you have matured while being at University and are now used to being more independent, so you can’t take your parents’ orders on what to eat, wear or do anymore. Understand that your parents may feel like cooking your favourite meal whilst also expect you to still tell them when you are going out and what time you’ll be back. It may take some time for them to get used to the idea that you are no longer 18.
Get a summer job
This can make things easier for you and your parents at the same time. Getting some extra cash can help in your ‘independence talks’ and will show that you are ready to take more responsibilities as a young adult. It will also keep you occupied and you won’t even notice when it’s September again and you have to go back to Uni!
Stay connected with your University life
Don’t forget that sooner or later you will end up in lecture halls again and it will be better if you don’t go too far out of it. Make sure you check your University email about updates on enrollment or other important messages. Reading ahead for your new modules (I know this is highly unlikely to happen for many of you, but it is still worth mentioning) can also help you keep up to date so you won’t feel as overwhelmed when course demands kick in again in September!
Keep in touch with your University friends
Most of them would probably go through similar experiences and could relate to the things that are happening to you as well. Plus, if you are one of those people that just stops communicating with old friends when you are apart from one another, it may be worth reminding yourself of all those nice people you know that can always cheer you up if you give them a call!
Two tips for those graduating and moving elsewhere
If you are graduating and moving elsewhere, make sure to read our blog on ensuring your wellness beyond University.
Leaving University can be bittersweet. It can be an exciting time to embark on new adventures, but equally a time when the University blues might leave you feeling slightly lost. Having to leave all that you’ve come to know (and love) over the last few years can be daunting and scary. However, please try not to worry, there are thousands of students similarly facing the post-uni transition, and though ending such a cherished chapter of your life can be difficult, you must think of the amazing ones you can create to follow.
Enjoy and plan
Enjoy your final hurrah! Make the most of seeing familiar faces and places and make plans for the future. Having plans in place for seeing your University friends can make things a bit easier when you’ve moved on. If you don’t already have one, creating a facebook or whatsapp group with friends can be a good way of casually keeping up to day-to-day things and maintaining your connections.
Give yourself time to adjust
It’s going to be a bit disorientating at first, so give yourself a bit of time to adjust to new routines and a new (or old!) setting and be good to yourself. Giving yourself some time to adjust is important, but in due course you should also engage with your new surroundings as enthusiastically as you did at University. Making new connections and creating new routines will help you settle into your new chapter.
Staying in Cardiff?
If you are intending on staying in Cardiff for summer studying, working or other endeavors you can have a look at our 7 Ways to avoid loneliness, homesickness and isolation blog, should you experience difficulties settling down for your summer in Cardiff.
International student moving back home?
If you are an international student moving back home after your studies, please be aware of reverse culture shock. Just as you may have experienced culture shock on moving to the UK, you may also experience reverse culture shock upon returning home. Read our blog on overcoming culture shock for some help with this.
If you’re graduating, you should also read our blog on visas for graduation.
We are still available!
Please remember that if you find yourself struggling with your transition back home, the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Team will still be there for you! If you are away from Cardiff you can still access online appointments through email, Blackboard IM or webcam. There are also a variety of online resources on our Wellbeing Central that you can take advantage of. Make sure you are following Student Life CU page on Facebook and Twitter for more updates from our service!
If you are graduating this summer, we can signpost you to support.
Tsvetina, Wellbeing Champion.
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice and Money, Careers and Employability, Counselling, Health and Wellbeing, Disability and Dyslexia and International Student Support. The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.