My worries vs reality: moving to a new city
Hi, I’m Jade, and I study Filmmaking at Leeds Beckett. I moved across the country for university, which was a choice that naturally brought a few worries along with it. After moving, I realised that a lot of these concerns weren’t anywhere near as bad as I thought they would be, and I aim to help ease your worries about moving to university and specifically Leeds within this blog.
A big concern of mine was that I would miss home too much and end up lonely in a new city. Instead, I found that the people in Leeds were so welcoming both in the university and in general. When it came to missing home, I found there were lots of quick fixes for this. In this age of Facetime, I was able to see my friends and family’s faces whenever I needed. I would recommend finding a regular day in the week to talk to your family to help find some normality and give you time to save up things to talk about (naturally you can call them more than that). My parents and I call every Sunday to round up what we’ve done that week and catch up; knowing I will talk to them on that day really helped with homesickness in my first year. Leeds also has a great train station, with links all over the country, that’s easy to get to in the middle of town. This means it’s never too hard to visit home or friends at other universities when you want to.
Living away from family
Another concern of mine was living independently, as coming to university was my first time living away from my family, as it is for most people. Some of the big concerns that I had were cooking for myself and balancing home life with university. In reality, this balance was easy to achieve through some simple organisational methods. Personally, I like to write tasks I have to do on post-it notes so that I can cross them off or throw them away when I’m done so that I feel a sense of achievement and this really helps with finding time to do uni work, household tasks and down time as you can manage how many tasks you give yourself.
When it came to cooking, I went to uni armed with a few recipes that I knew how to make, which I would recommend doing and student cookbooks are readily available and very helpful for easy, cheap meals. You can also learn a lot from the people around you. Once you’ve learnt a few basic cooking skills, you can transfer these to different recipes and the more you cook the easier it is, so give it a try. Living in halls is a good opportunity to learn skills and it doesn’t have to be daunting- sometimes it’s just trial and error until you find what’s right for you.
Another common worry is that of making friends… and trust me, we’ve all been there. When people say everyone’s in the same boat, it’s still hard to take that first step in making friends but I can guarantee others are also looking for a way to make friends with you, so I encourage you to reach out. And honestly, anything you’re feeling, other people are probably feeling it too, so talk to your flatmates as it’ll make it a nicer place to live and they will probably be the people you see most. I found that you don’t have to worry about not having a best friend on the first day. As your course starts, and as the year goes on, you will meet new people and find new friends. Personally, I still have some friends I made from freshers and induction week but the majority of my friends are people I’ve met and grown closer to over the course of first year and are now some of my best friends. There’s plenty of time to meet people and it may take just a little bit longer to find those you really want to be around. I am certain you won’t find yourself without a friend.
And the reason we're here...the course
The social aspect of uni is often something we all worry about, but the academic side to the experience can also cause concern. I remember feeling certain that everyone would be more advanced than me on the practical course I do and that I would have too much work to make friends and have a social life. Once I started, I realised that this wasn’t true at all. Remember that while some people may be more advanced, you were accepted onto the course for a reason and deserve to be there. If I found that someone was more advanced than me, I tried to view it as a learning opportunity and watch what they were doing to incorporate it into my own skill set. I’ve found that lots of people on my course had the same worry, and in reality, most of us were starting from the same learning point.
When it comes to workload, while the grade percentages, assignments and learning hours all sound overwhelming, with good scheduling it's actually very manageable. The assignments are given over a period of time so that it is not a rush and as long as you don’t leave it to the last minute it shouldn’t be a cause of stress. There is still plenty of time to socialise and make friends so your course won’t leave you in a position where you can’t make friends or explore your new city.
Since moving to a new city for uni, I have become much more independent and learnt a lot of life skills that I otherwise would not have had. While it is completely natural to have worries and concerns as moving is a big step, there are lots of small and simple things you can do to solve these concerns. Once you’ve made the move, you will find that the reality of these worries are not so scary after all.