Whether you’re off to uni, going on an overseas trip or just bursting your hometown bubble to begin your own life in the ‘real world’, it’s an exciting but scary time.
If you were like me and have never been away from home for more than 2 weeks, it can be an event more daunting process. Once I turned 18 and finished the gruelling HSC, I saw different perspectives of what my peer’s ambitions were. Some were sick of the area and saw no opportunities, others wanted to travel and discover themselves, whilst my best friend on the other hand just wanted to stay put.
For me, I had no clue. I had Uni staring me right in the face and when I got accepted into the University of Canberra I was overjoyed and proud. It wasn’t until I moved down to Canberra that I realised the reality of an 8-hour drive that separated me from home. With no friends, family or car, I found it very challenging.
So, in honor of my struggles, here's a list of tips for survival for the big move!
Tip #1 – Always remind yourself how lucky you are.
Now three years in, I’ve learnt a lot about myself, my emotions, my ambitions and my habits. For me, the main obstacle wasn’t having to do my own washing, it was accepting that I’m here for a reason and that I need to make the most of what I have. My hard earned savings drained away within the first year, mainly on rent, which meant I had to balance Uni with work. Not to mention living with my first serious partner, with which we both had no experience. There were lots of ups and downs but something that I’ve learnt over the last 3 years is that at the end of the day you are so incredibly lucky to live this life, so make the most of it, because a lot of people don’t get that opportunity. Take it in your stride, step back, realise what isn’t worth the frustration and remember to breathe.
Tip #2 – Exercise confidence, creativity and passion.
Anxiety can be your worst enemy. It’s easy to let it stand in the way of your ambitions but remember you are only human. Sometimes I get so nervous before I start something new but 5 minutes in I’m either loving it or I know it’s not for me. For example, I was a dancer and after giving it up for a couple of years I was determined to find that passion again. Time after time I would let my anxiousness tear me down and I would avoid classes. But a few months ago, I kicked the anxiety, and haven’t looked back. I feel healthier not just physically but mentally.
Finding something that you love to do is an act of kindness to yourself and builds confidence. I also found this an extremely helpful tool in distracting my mind and heart from missing home, my family, friends and pets. Keeping yourself busy works wonders!
Tip #3 – It’s okay to not know exactly who you are.
People ask me what I will pursue when I finish Uni… and just like my HSC days… I still have no idea. Of course, I have vague thoughts on different areas in my chosen industry and what I enjoy doing but I won’t know where opportunities lie until they present themselves. I believe in not thinking too hard about the future because if you do, you could miss out on what today has to offer.
It’s especially hard when people you know seem to be achieving their dreams, but you can’t compare your life to anyone else’s because you'll just surround yourself with bad energy. Instead, I try to use it as motivation. My dad always reminds me that ‘something better is around the corner’ and it is up to you to be patient and open, whilst making the most of the opportunities given to you. Of course learning from mistakes along the way is sometimes the biggest curve.
Sometimes it’s not about finding yourself but finding the life that is yours. Do the things you’re passionate about, spend time with those that you love or inspire you and create pride for yourself.
Lastly, whilst you will never forget your roots, you can create a home away from home and make the most of your journey into adulthood.
Kate Spencer | 20