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Adapting to Life Away from Home

By Khaula Ahmad on Mon 30 October 2023 in Placement Blog

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Hesitant to apply for a Placement further from home? You’re not alone! Marketing placement Khaula shares her experience of moving out for the first time and some top tips too…

One of my favourite things about university is the long, rewarding, summer holiday at the end of term. This year, however, was a little different – On the 5th of August, I moved three hours from home to Oxford where I started my placement at ProspectSoft. Moving away was one thing, but moving away alone was another. I was so glad that all my peers were welcoming and friendly. Without their support, dealing with the incoming change in my life might have been a bit harder. 

Adjusting to my new schedule was a challenge. Thinking about sitting in the same spot from 9:00-5:00 wasn’t exactly a comforting thought and waking up at 6:45 was downright scary. Luckily, I got used to the early mornings quickly, and started to enjoy them! Seeing the familiar faces of regulars on the bus and eventually becoming one of them. As for being glued to my office chair, my daily commute helped break up my day and allowed me to get some steps in. I was also encouraged to take regular breaks and stretch my legs between tasks which made it easier to focus.

Coming home at 5:30 every day meant I had less time to pursue my other hobbies than usual. This meant adjusting my schedule to make time for things that mattered to me. Making sure I had enough time to prepare for the next day, get some exercise, keep in touch with my friends and family, and get 8 hours of sleep felt like a lot. I decided to use a whiteboard to break down what I wanted to do each day and adjust throughout the week. Making sure I kept up with my hobbies was integral to my routine and keeping me sane with so much change going on. Doing this was the key to meeting deadlines in my persona and professional life, whilst making time for all of my commitments.

Initially, moving out was a new and thrilling adventure but soon enough my new routine became somewhat mundane. Instead of anticipating what the future held, the butterflies in my stomach were replaced by tight knots of anxiety and homesickness. It was important to me to acknowledge these feelings instead of ignoring them. To combat the excitement wearing off, I decided to use each free weekend in the most productive way that I could. Seeking out new places, meeting new people, and most importantly I kept in touch with family! Whether I was able to travel back home in person or virtually socialise instead, I made sure that I spent time with the people who matter to me the most.

Chances are, you have moved before, and can beat the moving blues. But something everyone must do regardless of their opinions about moving – is move! Packing all your belongings and deciding what to bring can be half the battle. Starting early with this is the key to success. You don’t want to leave anything you don’t absolutely need to till the last minute. The reason for this being you’ll have enough to be doing by the time you need to move to be worrying about unnecessary things. I know I did!

If you don’t already know how to cook, you’ll need to learn! Nobody is expecting you to be the next Gordon Ramsey, but it’s important you know the basics of shopping, meal planning, and how to prepare the food you’ve bought. Keeping a few easy meals on hand can also be a lifesaver – instant noodles and ready meals come in handy (We’ve all been there!). Don’t get too dependent on those though, it’s important to keep eating nutritious, home cooked food to stay healthy and cut back on your spending. 

Speaking of… Budgeting is one of the most important aspects of moving away from home. It’s a skill that can aid you in multiple areas of your life and mastering financial independence can open doors you didn’t have access to before!

It’s equally important to clean up after yourself and make sure your living space stays organised. Living at home meant all the responsibilities were shared and the house took care of itself, once I moved out, I realised it wouldn’t be that simple. There was a lot more work going into the house maintenance than I thought initially! I found putting things away as soon as possible was essential in helping me avoid overwhelm and it’s gotten much easier now I’m used to it. I also write a weekly schedule of what chores I’ll complete each day.

In conclusion, moving away from home is a significant event in many young people’s lives. It brings new and unique experiences, sights, and skills into your life that you won’t get anywhere else. If you welcome the change, you’ll go further than you ever thought you would!

Doing a Placement Year can broaden your horizons in so many ways. Get hands on experience, transferable skills, and make lifelong friends! Check out all our 2024-2025 Placement opportunities here.

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