First published: January 2021
After last year, plus a very different first term at uni, going home for Christmas brought a much needed break for students all across the country. Parents’ homemade meals, catching up with siblings, just being back in your own bedroom; the festivities were the icing on the cake.
Following a cosy family Christmas, although some students may be keen to get back the independence that comes with uni life, some may be feeling a little daunted, especially under the current circumstances.
At Endsleigh, we have a strong focus on student wellbeing and a big part of what we do is providing as much support to students as we can. As a result, here are some tips on heading back to university after Christmas.
1) Take some home comforts with you
If you’re feeling particularly sad to be returning to uni so soon, taking some home comforts can really help. How can you make your student room feel more homely? Can you take some cushions that normally live on your bed at home? What about some posters? Or how about getting your parents to batch-cook some meals that you can freeze and defrost if you’re feeling a little low and need something homely and nutritious?
2) Make sure you pack everything you need
The last thing you need when you head back to uni is leaving something essential, like your laptop or favourite set of PJs at home. Be sure to make a list so all your essentials go with you. And don’t forget your masks, anti-bac and any other forms of PPE!
3) Find out if your uni has any special measures in place for returning
Most universities did a phased approach to sending students home for Christmas, including asymptomatic covid testing. Keep an eye on your emails to find out about any special measures needed for your safety.
4) Keep in touch
Remember, just because you’re heading back to uni, it doesn’t mean that you’re apart from your loved ones. Your family and friends are literally on the other end of a phone/video call. So if you’re missing home, all you need to do is pick up the phone. Check out our blog about keeping in touch with family and friends at uni.
5) Remember why you’re there
Sure, uni isn’t exactly the same as being at home, but there’s a reason for that. If you’ve moved away to uni, chances are you can’t get the same opportunities as you would at home. Staying home won’t allow you to meet new people from all around the world, learn new life skills and become totally independent. Also, staying home won’t usually allow you to gain your degree, potentially going on to do amazing things. Whilst living at uni is different, there’s a reason why you’re there.
6) Make an effort with your uni friends
If you’ve not quite bonded with your uni friends yet, make an effort to. And if they’re already classed as some of your best mates, plan some time together to look forward to. Whether it’s virtual game nights with your course mates, or dinner and drinks with your flat mates, an invitation to spend some time together can go a long way. And chances are, they’re probably feeling similar to you.
7) Get stuck into your work
If anything can take your mind off missing home, it’s an impending uni deadline. Getting stuck into your reading list or latest uni assignment is a productive way to stay focused.
8) Remember things will get better
There’s a lot to worry about in the world at the moment, but remember that things will get better. If you’re missing home, it’s good to keep in mind that it’s a natural feeling that will start to get easier as time goes on. And if you’re just wanting to be around family, remember that they’re on the other end of the phone, and that it isn’t that long until reading week.
What if I don’t want to go back to uni after Christmas?
Although most students will probably override feelings of missing home and end up going back to uni and loving it, for others, they may decide the best decision is for them to leave.
Before finalising anything, it’s a good idea to have a heart-to-heart with a loved one and see if your feelings can be addressed. Given how hard you worked to get into uni in the first place, it’s probably not a decision to be made quickly.
The next steps (again, before making any final decisions), as advised by UCAS, is to speak directly to your university. They should be able to give you advice to help you make the decision that’s best for you. They may even be able to offer you support to address any specific feelings you’re currently dealing with. Universities have specific teams dedicated to student wellbeing, so you may feel a lot more comfortable with support offered.
If you do commit to leaving or suspending your studies, you’ll need to confirm this with your uni and also speak to Student Finance so they can stop any future payments.
To read more about what to do if you’re thinking of leaving uni, check out UCAS’ website.
For more on navigating the new student life, check out content from our work with NUS and Totum.