Living Away From Home – The good, the bad, and the downright annoying!

I’ve lived away from ‘home’ for 8 years on and off now, and lived in Leeds fully for over 3 whole years. Yet I still call my hometown my home! My family are there, some of my closest friends, and everything I did before the age of 20 pretty much happened there! Even while in Uni, I wasn’t too far away. I won’t be letting go any time soon. It’s even worse if you come from somewhere as beautiful as I do.

However, when moving from a town where many people stay all their lives, you do realise that as much as you miss it and get homesick, there are good points to being away.

Living away from home

The Good

1. Exploring new places.
It’s exciting and fun, and while you can always go visit a place, it’s not the same as living there, getting to know all it’s little secrets, the best bars, the nicest views, the best hangout spots.

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2. You get away!
While you might love your town and family, etc. things can get wearing when you have nowhere else to go. It’s great getting to visit people, without putting up with the dreariness and annoyances of everyday life. People usually get on with their parents much better once they move out!

3. Learning how to become an adult. 
This doesn’t sound like a good thing, but honestly, it really helps you become an independent person. It tests you with responsibilities and decisions. A person who can use the damn washing machine by themselves without flooding the kitchen! (I only did it twice!)

4. New people.
You may love those already in your life, but chances are there are plenty more out there who understand you in a different way. More friends can only be a good thing! People in university societies may understand your hobbies more, or people you meet by moving somewhere new might have the same opinions as you. Even people with differing views can teach you a new perspective. Some of my best friends have been made in adulthood. Without realising it, you grow and become a different person, and these people are the ones that can accept that easily.

5. Broadening your horizons. 
While many people move straight back home after University, most will seek something new and just as exciting. Uni blues get to most people I know, as it is a time in your life where everything is new and crazy and a learning curve. Life becomes more mellow (and sober!) after that. As you’ve moved away once, it makes trying out new places a lot easier, even without the safety net of being able to go home if you fail. Being from a small town can be especially restricting, as you get so comfortable there, knowing a lot of people, being familiar with your surroundings, that you can forget there’s a big wide world out there. Once you’ve moved you’ll feel like a bigger, braver you.

The Bad

1. You miss home. 
Even if you don’t think you will, there will be parts of home, be it people or your favourite cafe, that you’ll miss. Sometimes, it can seem like nothing will be better than getting back there. It’s important to know that the feeling passes, day by day, you get used to your new life away.

2. You lose touch with people.
While I made an effort to keep in touch with my home friends, it can be difficult to maintain closeness when you are far away or busy with other people, studying, working, etc. The main thing to remember is that the people who care will always care. I have friends that I don’t speak to for months or see for years, but when I do, it’s just like old times. Everybody is trying to create a life for themselves and you have to realise that they are not purposely leaving you out of it.


3. It can be difficult to settle. 
When I first moved to Leeds, I didn’t feel the love for it that I saw in others. I was frustrated at having to do the whole 9-5 thing (or longer), I didn’t have a set group of reliable friends, I was away from my boyfriend and family. It’s taken me a while to fully appreciate where I am, and why I’m here. Going to Uni is a bit different, as everyone is in the same boat, you feel part of a community. It’s taken me this long to realise that everyone is muddling through, just like me. I don’t want to feel ‘settled’ as such, but I want to enjoy it while I’m here so I make the most of events, seeing new places, eating out and all of the things I have a chance to do while here.

Going to Uni is a bit different, as everyone is in the same boat, you feel part of a community. It’s taken me this long to realise that everyone is muddling through, just like me. I don’t want to feel ‘settled’ as such, but I want to enjoy it while I’m here so I make the most of events, seeing new places, eating out and all of the things I have a chance to do while here.

4. Money issues.
How on earth do adults ever afford anything?! Like seriously, how do people buy cars? Getting your finances into some sort of order, learning to budget and the balancing act between student loans and rent payments can be difficult to get your head around.

With uni, I unrealistically went in head first, bought ALL the things, spent on nights out and cool bedroom accessories, only to end up in my overdraft forevermore. It’s much tougher to get out of debt than it is to get in it. This must be one of your mantras! Consider each move, try to budget. Relying on parents is okay for some, but not everybody has that option, and even if you do it is not the best way to begin adult life as it’ll hit even harder when you’re on your own.


5. Cooking/Cleaning.
Do I really eat that much, that often? Do I seriously make that much mess? Does dust settle that quickly on my newly polished shelves? My first uni halls had catering and I am so thankful I chose to live there. They also had cleaners for the communal areas – which I am certain saved many arguments! I have two solutions: 1. Pasta  2. Antibacterial cleaning wipes

Pasta is cheap and can be used for lots of different meals. While ready meals and pizza seem appealing, they often work out as more expensive and not quite as nice. That’s not to say you don’t deserve a treat now and then!

Anti-bacterial wipes for university rooms (any rooms to be fair!) are a godsend! They can be used on pretty much anything, leave your room clean and smelling fresh. You can by all means go all out and buy all the cleaning products, but these are the ones you’ll go back to for easy cleaning jobs.


The Annoying

1. Flatmates!
You love them and hate them at the same time. Other people in your space can get frustrating. Especially uni flatmates. There’s always one that’s a food thief. The one that plays terrible music really loudly. The one that moans at you as if you’re the bad one. And so it continues! But trust me…one day…a long time from now…you’ll miss them!


2. No visits.
Chances are if you’ve moved away from home, you’ll be planning and talking about how all of your friends and family can visit. However, in reality, people have their own lives to be getting on with and you’ll probably be visited a lot less often than expected. Accept this early on and make time for phone calls, Skype chats, etc.

3. Travelling. 
If you didn’t travel much before, you’re about to! Whether it be back home, exploring new places near to you, cars, buses, trains! And if you’ve moved to Wales – good luck! There are ways to make travelling fun – read, listen to music, use the time well and you won’t even notice. But it can get to you.

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4. Finding your way around.
To live in a town where you don’t know where the best places are can be fun, but also frustrating. If your phone (read: sat nav device) runs out of battery, you can easily get lost! Some people can be worried about this, but it’s never as bad as you think. Enjoy exploring while you find your way!

5. Meeting new people.
This was in the good section, I know! However, while it is great to meet new people, a lot of people can struggle to meet great friends or people with similar interests. If you’re not meeting people at work or in your classes, be social. Not in the partying alone and drunkenly becoming best friends with the girl in the next toilet kinda way. Although you can if you want to! Join clubs, take on a new hobby, etc. This may be daunting to shy people, but is completely worth it! Even if you don’t find anybody straight away, you’ll feel good for giving it a go and more confident about joining other groups.


One thing I will say is this: The good definitely outweighs the bad, and even the annoying! Do you live away from home? Or could you never leave?