Following First Semester, Georgie Discusses Feeling of Belonging While at University
Going home, wherever that may be. For some, it is wonderful. A thing to be excited about: seeing loved ones, pets, old friends. For others it can be a weird and confusing time. At university you learn to fend for yourself, become independent and form patterns and routines based around your new freedom. Eleven weeks later, going home, you regress back to being angsty and fifteen again.
The temporary state that is uni means that, when you add up the days, what feels like most of the year is in fact, only a few weeks longer than the time we get between semesters. University is supposed to be the best years of our lives, right? Mostly it is, or at least it has the potential to be, amidst deadlines, word counts and the constantly looming threat of exam seasons.
You make new friends, find a new city, fall in love, become broken-hearted; all the rites of passage in just three short years. And then you go home, wherever that may be, and everything changes. Sure, it’s nice to see your family, reunite with your dog, and walk down the streets which, once upon a time, were part of an everyday routine. Sometimes, you can even suffer the illusion of feeling like nothing has changed. Granted, it is a welcome break sometimes, not having to do your own washing up or having to take down posters in case you have a room inspection. You’re at a juxtaposition: a temporal state of comfort that was once so familiar, whilst experiencing life out of a suitcase.
You are too small-town for a big city, but now the streets you once wandered feel so tiny in comparison to how they used to.
Some people, due to occurrences out of their control, may not have a permanent base out of university, cannot afford the flights back home, or may not have a welcoming environment to return to. They make uni their home, at least for the next three years.
For some, being away from home is the hardest thing they’ve ever had to do, and I’m sure it’s safe to say that at one point or another we’ve all felt that longing for familiarity tug on our heart strings. Being at uni is great, a thoroughly enjoyable, albeit challenging, experience. But where home is can feel ambiguous and far away.
For some, it feels like they have two homes – one in Leeds and one where their height is still pencilled on the kitchen wall from the day they could first stand up. For some, myself included, it can feel like you have neither. You are too small-town for a big city, but now the streets you once wandered feel so tiny in comparison to how they used to.
University is hard, scary and somewhat foreboding, and sometimes it feels like too much too soon and all you long for is your mum’s cooking and the warm familiarity of your old bed. However, I know that, if given the chance to remake my decision to come here, there would be nothing on this earth that could persuade me to make a different choice.