Not Under My Roof

“I am now an independent young man, having lived without parental boundaries in Uni accommodation.  I am looking forward to returning home for the Summer, but not to feeling like a ‘kid’ again... 

I have wanted to get involved writing for Student Life for a little while and this is the perfect opportunity.  I’m not ready to provide a bio for the editor and therefore, I am writing under just my initials.  That was an option and I’ve taken it!

I have a loving family waiting for me at home in Essex and I am looking forward to spending the summer back with them and my old mates.  The thing that I’m not looking forward to is returning to the boundaries that were there for me and my younger sister when I left for Uni last year.  I can’t be alone in this feeling and I need to find a way to explain to my family that love them as I do, I am now a more independent person than the one that they dropped off to my new home late last year.”

Written by Ezra Hewing

Leaving home to study at University and live independently brings challenges as well as newfound freedom. It’s natural for people to feel less secure and even disconnected when leaving the family home, especially if it’s for the first time, but what happens when people return home for the summer break?

Finding your feet and adapting to student life will give you new ways to get important emotional needs met. Learning the layout of the campus and local amenities will give you some sense of security. Being responsible for planning study, as well as deciding when and what to cook, and when to go out and come home, gives you more control and autonomy than you may be used to. 

Making new friends and enjoying social life helps meet emotional needs for community and connection when we have left the people we grew up and went to school with. Going home for the summer break is likely to be a big change for students and parents.

The family home is the space which parents or guardians have shaped to provide a safe and private space, both for them and for the family. Parents wanting their boundaries respected and students wanting to continue enjoying their newfound freedom; this is about the need we have to feel we have a sense of control over our lives. So, what can we do to meet everyone’s needs? 

Taking time to share your experiences of life on campus and by actively taking the lead on things you might do away from home might be a useful strategy. Offering to cook a meal or making changes to your bedroom are ways of communicating the changes in your new life. Using the summer break to connect up with old friends or, if you can afford to, to go travelling can give you a break from the family home if going back to old boundaries is stressful. Most importantly, asking your parents to discuss the changes can help everybody to understand that an important stage in life has arrived, which will be easier if it’s spoken about openly. This will give everybody the best chance of enjoying the summer break.    

If you’re experiencing stress as a student, seek help from student support services or visit suffolkmind.org.uk to find out more about how you can manage stress effectively.