When I moved away from home for uni I was nineteen. I actually couldn’t wait to get out of the house and into my new place, where I’d have a massive room and I’d be living with five other girls. I took my TV, my PS2 (I was broke, sue me) and a load of other miscellaneous things. I took posters I wanted to put up. I took little ornaments and books I liked. I took enough that, once I’d moved in, the space should have been properly mine.
So my dad moved me in and took me to Morrisons to fill my cupboards, and once that was all done he said he was going. Rather than being like ‘Get out of here, Dad!’ I felt . . . really frightened. Because he was going. And I’d be officially moved out. And it suddenly wasn’t what I wanted. A couple of my new housemates dragged me into town for the night, though, so I didn’t really have chance to worry about it.
I’d moved in during Reading Week, so quite a few people were at home. By the time everyone came back, there were regularly ten or more people in the house, because we had friends in the student accommodation next door. The wobble I felt when my dad left was more or less forgotten, but then something else happened: Even around all those people, I felt really, really lonely.
I wanted to go home. I wanted my mum’s very average cooking and the pet mouse I’d left behind. I missed my brother and sister, I missed my room. I missed being at home, and as eager as I’d been to leave, right then, I’d have given anything to go back. I was so overwhelmed by it that I left the room where we (some 11 or so people) were watching Bring It On and went to grab a tea or something. I didn’t even drink tea. I just wanted to get out of there.
Homesickness isn’t something that people make up. It’s real, and it sucks. But I can tell you; it’s not permanent. In fact, mine got fixed fairly instantly; while I was in the kitchen, one of the girls I lived with came down from the film to check on me. I said I was fine, of course, but she must have been able to tell because she gave me a big hug and it fixed everything. Just a hug. Magic!
Most of the people you’re living with will be in the same position as you — away from home for the first time and trying to get used their new independence. Everything is really exciting and new and overwhelming at first, but once that dies down, you do start to miss people. The important thing is to remember you can call them any time, and with Skype and Google Hangouts it’s even easier to be closer to home.
And you know — maybe you’ll be the person who gives your flatmate a hug that stops them from feeling alone and out of their depth. Sometimes, that’s all you need. Have fun, and take care of each other, and it’ll be great!