Remember your roots

Staying in touch with your old mates is just as important as making new ones, says Daniel Brown

It’s a balancing act, starting a new life at university. There are hundreds if not thousands of new people all in pretty much the same boat: on the one hand full of excitement and curiosity, on the other having left behind the familiarity of the family unit and the friends that know them so well.

Making this transition happily is about getting the balance right. Too much of the new world and very little of the old and you could find yourself somewhat overwhelmed and lacking the security that your home life provided. Too much contact with your family and friends back home and you may not be embracing the opportunities your new university life offers.

What’s the answer? “Let yourself go a little and give yourself time,” says Jenny Smith, student union welfare officer at the University of Nottingham. “Until you find your group of friends at university, it’s important not to put all your eggs in any one basket, nor demand too much of friends and family back home. Good friends will remain good friends and your family will also provide support and enjoy hearing of your new experiences.”

The step into university life is a big one; for the first few weeks it may even feel a little surreal. In addition, you will be meeting people from many different backgrounds in a short space of time, especially if you are based in halls of residence. Sharing your news with the folks back home will help you to process all of this: they will be happy to hear it all and you get the chance to talk through what’s going on. If you are struggling to adapt, a little contact with your family can go a long way.

“For students who are finding it difficult to adjust, the guidance of family members can be invaluable – a telephone call or e-mail can make all the difference,” says David Gerty, student union president at Loughborough University. “No one knows you better than your parents and they usually have that knack of saying the right thing at the right time.”

For parents, seeing their child go to university can be a difficult time and it will take them a while to adjust. They will benefit enormously from being kept in the loop and will be reassured that you are safe and sound and enjoying the university experience.

There will, of course, be an abundance of opportunities to meet new people in your halls of residence, on your course, within clubs and societies and socially; you will be making new friendships all the time.

However, many of your old friends will probably be going to university for the first time too and will be going through similar experiences. Who better to speak to about how things are going in the initial stages?

Richard Kendall, chair of Nightline – a student helpline – agrees. “By keeping in contact [with old friends], students can create a mutual support network that could be even more understanding of student issues than family might be.”

Remaining part of each other’s lives may be difficult initially, but regular contact will benefit everyone. And remember, they will still be your friends and family when you’re home for the holidays!

Staying in touch with your old mates is just as important as making new ones, says Daniel Brown

Independent student suggests

  • Mobile phones are obviously one of the best ways to stay in touch. Store all the numbers and contact details you’ll need before you leave and take advantage of student tariffs to minimise the bills.
  • E-mail is a great way of letting parents catch up with news. Not as immediate as the mobile but just as effective, and cheaper!
  • Facebook or Myspace allow you to combine old and new friends in one manageable system. Let everyone know your news by updating your status – just be careful who sees what pictures!
  • Skype allows you to phone home via your internet connection, at a fraction of the usual cost of a call.
  • A handwritten letter is an unbeatable classic for that personal touch.

Web aid

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Science Technician

£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...

English and Media Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English & Media Teacher - ...

Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

£24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam