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personal uni

finding my feet

In the three months since I last wrote on here, lots has changed but also not much at all. I’ve moved home and then moved out again properly, I’ve started renting a non-student flat and started a new job. I’ve got the same good friends but also made a load more, and moved into a different phase of my life.

For the first few weeks of moving out from home, it didn’t feel that different to uni. I’m in the same city, lots of my friends are still around here and the first few weeks of my new job were largely a repeat of zoom uni with constant online training. After hitting the six week mark though, I’m beginning to notice the differences. At uni, I went home around about every six weeks for reading week or just the weekend, and I was only ever away for maximum ten weeks at a time, following the term structure. Even when lockdowns meant I couldn’t go home as often last year, I generally wasn’t away for this long continuously. The homesickness is finally starting to hit, as I realise going home isn’t as easy as hopping on the train and coming back a few weeks later. Now, it involves planning and time off work, and I can’t realistically go home for anywhere near as long.

Generally, I’m okay with this. I was ready to move out, work keeps me busy and I like the life I’m building for myself. But surrounded by friends who are either on graduate schemes or still at university for masters’ degrees or years abroad, it’s hard feeling like the only person who’s moved on. It’s harder finding people my own age to spend time with, and not having the flexibility to go out whenever someone suggests it or skip a lecture if I feel like it. As much as I’m homesick for my family and the familiarity of life at home, I’m homesick for the routines of university life. I know it was harder, and more stressful than I’m remembering, but I miss the ease of all my friends being on similar schedules, living within a five minute radius of me. I miss having the fundamental tenets of university life in common, and the instant conversation starters of what course do you do? Where are you from? What societies do you do?

I love my job, but it does feel isolating. I can’t really talk to anyone outside of work about what I’m doing, because of all the jargon and acronyms and fundamentally it’s probably really boring to people who aren’t actively involved. I love the people I work with, but I’m the odd one out, being young and not married and not having kids. There isn’t the inbuilt social life of university or a graduate scheme where everyone is around the same age doing the same thing, and working thirty miles away from where I live wouldn’t help if there ever was the opportunity for a work-related social life.

I know that I just need to give it time, and all these emotions are normal. It’s only been six weeks, and the fact I’ve already managed to make new friends and have social plans outside of work most weeks is actually pretty good. But I really do miss the community of student life, especially since the start of the new academic year has raised the wound of losing half my degree to a pandemic back to the surface.

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