As I sit on the 12pm Cross Country train from Manchester Piccadilly, I am overcome with a bittersweet sadness. I am so excited to be reunited with my house-mates: friends I have known for only a year, yet can’t imagine my life without. I am excited to rejoin the routine of uni life after a long weekend at home. And yet, I am unbelievably sad. For left behind, over 175 miles away from my Nottingham family, are my real family, my friends, and my boyfriend.
“It’s like having two separate lives”
I have found the easiest way to describe it to people is it’s like having two separate lives; my home life and my uni life. They don’t really overlap, and when I am in one, I can’t imagine ever being in the other. There are some things which can help you though, when the homesickness hits. When all you want is a hug from your mum, or a laugh with a sibling, or life advice from your Oracle (otherwise known as Gran).
Goes without saying that the most important thing to maintaining relationships when away from home is good communication. Texting, Skype, Facetime, Facebook, writing letters, sending photos and videos; small things that keep you connected to those whom you are missing. Facebook group chat video calls have been amazing at keeping my friends and I in good contact.
“We frequently ‘live-watch’ films and TV shows together”
Myself and my boyfriend Facetime most days, not always with exciting and riveting stories about what has happened to us that day, but for the mundane things which make your relationship seem more intimate, and somehow makes me feel closer to him. For example, we frequently ‘live-watch’ films and TV shows together, or whilst I’m reading (or pretending to read) I will prop my phone up whilst he does whatever he is doing (most likely having an intimate moment with the third member of our relationship- Fifa).
I don’t think regular contact is necessary to make a long-distance relationship work, but it certainly makes ours easier. Of course, we have bad days, when each other is busy and communication is difficult. It really puts a strain on the relationship. You can feel as if the other is living a different life which you don’t feel a part of, it can be upsetting and make you feel incredibly distant.
“the best thing you can do is talk about it”
But as with most things, the best thing you can do is talk about it, explain how you’re feeling make sure you’re both on the same page. Some of my friends in long distance relationships speak to their other half less frequently, and that works perfectly well for them. But for me personally, I like to feel connected, and the same can be said for family and friends.
Understanding that we’ve all grown up, gone to uni and began a new adventure is hard for some people to understand. They may take your slow replies as you being distant or forgetting about them, which may be the case (I’m not judging). But sometimes that’s just how life is, so it’s important to surround yourself with people who are excited for you and all your new endeavors.
So be outgoing and excited about all your uni antics, but don’t forget where you came from, and those people that make you so excited to call that place ‘Home’.