Living away from home

Author: Grace Collins.

Living away from home whilst at University is something that many students find hard and challenging. The feeling of packing your life away in suitcases and bags to bring to University is something which you won’t forget.  However, the independence and skills that you develop whilst living away from home whilst at University are invaluable and extremely worthwhile.

There are so many ways that you can feel more at home whilst living at University, such as Facetime, keeping in touch with friends from home, eating meals with your flatmates and many more! Although some people may find this experience one of the hardest things, the things you learn and the fun you have will be irreplaceable.


Living at University in the 21st Century has never been easier! The availability of phone calls and apps such as Facetime and Skype have made being away from home so much less stressful. I usually Facetime my family every other day and update them on my life, the meals I’ve eaten and the lectures I’ve had. It makes it so much easier that Group Facetime is now available. If you don’t have an iPhone, the app Skype works just as well! Keeping in touch with family members has really helped me feel more at home as I feel as though I am there eating dinner with them.

Keeping in touch with friends from home

Another tip about student life living away from home would be to try and stay in touch with friends from home. I regularly talk to my best friends from home as one of them didn’t go to University and one of them commutes to University, so we always have lots to catch up and different things to talk about. I also like knowing everything about what is going on at home so that I don’t feel out of the loop. When I come home, for example at Christmas or Easter or weekends, I always try and meet up with my friends from my senior school as I do miss them living away from home at University and it’s always nice to know that they’re always going to be there when I need them.

Meals with flatmates and friends

Making and eating meals with your flatmates or University friends is something I would highly recommend. This is because it can really take your mind off things such as being homesick or missing your pets and family. Making meals with your friends makes you appreciate the University life more and appreciate the people around you as well as the people at home. Sometimes when I’ve missed my family or felt a bit homesick, my friends and I would meet up and cook dinner together and have a break from work and just talk. It really helps getting advice from people who may be feeling the same way as you as you must remember that everyone here is in the same position. I also think that socialising with people if you’re feeling slightly lonely can really pick up your mood and instantly make you feel better. Having a laugh with friends or cooking a meal with them can really change your feelings and make you feel better about the situation.

Taking your mind off of challenging situations

Taking your mind off of situations that you may find challenging and hard to overcome is something which is extremely important. There are so many things that you can do at University if you are feeling slightly down or lonely living away from home. One of the things that I love to do when I am having a bit of a down day is to go the gym. Surrey Sports Park is a three-minute walk from my accommodation and it’s so handy having a gym that close. Things like exercise make you feel more relaxed and relieve stress, which is why I like going to the gym especially when my mood is a bit low.

Even if you don’t have a gym pass, there are lots of places to walk around Guildford town, for example, the town, the University, around Manor Park and more. Clearing your mind of challenging situations is fundamental if you need to concentrate on Uni work or have some down time. Other things that you can do if it’s raining for example are reading a book that you haven’t read before or listening to music to lift your spirits. I always find giving myself an hour or so a day of “me time” is extremely beneficial to not only my mental health, but to my concentration levels as well.

Going to London/travelling

Another thing that I find makes it easier being at University whilst living away from home is having days out. With Guildford being at 35-minute train journey away from London Waterloo, travelling to London has never been easier. If you do like travelling to London but are reluctant to pay full price for the train fare, there is a Student Railcard that gives you a third off your ticket price! I got one of these railcards free when I signed up to a Santander Student bank account. This is extremely beneficial for me when I choose to go home as I get the train and it makes it a lot cheaper with the railcard. You can still buy a railcard without getting the student bank account if you don’t want it! Being able to travel to London cheaper makes living away from home so much easier. My friends and I have been to London a few times for University events and we even visited the Supreme Court. With London being so close, there are so many things you can do there to take your mind off of living away from home.

But you don’t always need to go to London to have fun! There are so many fun things to do in Guildford that you can never get bored.