Moving into university and living away from home for the first time is extremely exciting, with that feeling of independence which comes with not having your rents nagging at you all the time. You can do what you want when you want, without anyone there to ask what time you’re going to be home, or tell you to do the washing up. Despite this new found freedom, it can also feel daunting to not have your family close at hand. You’ve lived with them for the last eighteen years, and breaking the routine of talking to them and seeing them every day can often be difficult. Now that you are not living with your family you may fear that it will not be possible to sustain the relationship you had with them before. The same goes for friends; you may question how you are possibly going to keep in touch with them all when you’re miles away. However, there are many ways in which you can maintain a good relationship with your family and friends back home whilst you’re at university.
Twenty years ago it was much more difficult for students to keep in touch with their families, but the wonders of modern technology make it so much easier. Skype is a great way to feel close to family by actually seeing them on the screen. Weekly Skype sessions are a good way to catch up and mean that several people can join in the conversation at once. A good old fashioned phone call doesn’t go amiss every once in a while too. It doesn’t have to be often, but by hearing the voice of someone familiar on the other end of the phone you will feel much closer to your loved ones. Although Facebook isn’t as personal as Skyping or a phone call, it can still be a brilliant way to talk to your friends. Group messages mean that you can easily keep up to date with all that is going on, and organise meet ups for when you are home.
Depending on the distance between you and your hometown, visiting for a weekend, or even just the day, can be a good way to keep in touch. You don’t even have to be the one who goes home; you could invite your family to come to Lancaster for the day, and hopefully secure some free food! When you do go home, it is a good idea to coincide visits with family birthdays or occasions when there will be lots of people around. You could even make a surprise visit home on Mother’s day or Father’s day if you are feeling homesick. Inviting friends from home to visit you at university is also a great way to keep friendships healthy. You get the best of both worlds, having both your friends from home, and your new friends at university with you, making for the perfect night out.
Of course, maintaining good relationships with family and friends from home is very important, but at the same time if you immerse yourself in university life, joining societies and getting involved with all that you can, you will be less likely to feel homesick. However, don’t immerse yourself so much you forget about everyone else! They have known you longer and are bound to be there for you if you need them. You have the perfect situation now that you are living in Lancaster with friends both at university and at home – make the most of it!