The Christmas holidays provide some much-needed escapism from university life. The stress that began to pile up at the end of term one all begins to fade away upon returning home. Surrounding yourself with home comforts be it family, friends or food makes life seem that little bit easier. Yet, as the New Year begins, so does the next term, and the reality of heading back to university starts to sink in. Anxiety of going back hits more of us than care to admit and I, for sure, am one of them. No matter what year of study you are in, it never gets easier to leave the comfort of home life.
After my first term of first year, going back once the Christmas holidays had finished seemed incredibly daunting. It was an odd feeling because you would expect that I disliked university and that’s why the anxiety crept in. However, this was simply not the case. I enjoyed university life and had made good friends, yet I could not escape the dread that was building up about returning. I made the mistake of berating myself for feeling this way, telling myself that it was abnormal, and I was being pathetic. This could not be further from the truth. After speaking to a range of people, both from Warwick and other universities, I came to learn that this was a more common feeling than expected. Many people felt the same way I did. Eventually, I came to understand that it is okay to feel anxious about returning and to not really know why you feel that way. You are not alone.
Try to find something to stop you from having a lot of time to dwell on missing home
Regardless of how you feel, university will commence and you will have to return. More likely than not, simply getting back into the swing of university life will ease the anxiety. Nevertheless, there are a few things I try to do to make the transition from life at home to life at university that little bit easier.
Firstly, making yourself super busy is a great way to forget the anxiety you once felt. Throw yourself into whatever it may be that you like to do. Whether that is sport, music, cooking, or reading- you should do anything that will help you take your mind off the anxiety you feel. Personally, I found going to the gym really helped. By no means am I a gym fanatic but spending an hour in the gym most days made me feel better. I felt healthier both physically and mentally and it provided a chance to burn off some pent-up angst. Regardless of what it is, try to find something to stop you from having a lot of time to dwell on missing home.
Do not punish yourself! Lots of people try to not return home during term time, because they think it will only bring back the anxiety that they felt before. I would suggest not to do this. While returning home every weekend is not good either, going home once or twice a term can really help to recharge your batteries. Allow yourself to be indulged in some home comforts occasionally and then perhaps home will no longer feel so far away.
If you’re struggling, make sure you reach out to those around you
We have all heard the saying ‘make a house a home’ and doing this at university can be really beneficial. Putting up photos of family and friends, bringing your favourite duvet or having a couple of nice cushions can really transform your place. This may sound simple but making your university accommodation feel like a home can make you feel more comfortable. Most of our homes are more luxurious than where we live during term time, so adding a few homely touches can help to close this gap and make you feel less far away from home.
Returning to university after a long break will always bring with it some anxiety. It is not easy to leave the comfort of our homes and many people feel the same. If you’re struggling, make sure you reach out to those around you. Get the support you need and always know that you are not alone.