Moving Away – The Changes and the Continuities. Our Young Reporter article

On the 14th September, I moved 142 miles away from my home of my whole almost 19 years to the huge metropolis that is the capital London. This move was to go to university at King’s College London and a piece of information that anyone moving down south from Grimsby – nobody knows where it is! Up north, near Hull, and down quite a bit from Newcastle is as good as my description gets with my also admittedly lacking geography skills. Also things that will definitely happen is that you will be asked about the Sacha Baron Cohen film here (and should reply with none of it was filmed here); Londoners will run for tubes, sometimes in full business suits, even though the next train is two minutes later; and you will make at least one extortionately priced purchase by just assuming the cost of the item.

However, despite those more light hearted events, moving to any new place is a big change and may be stressful. I think anyone who has moved to a different place of some distance has had moments where all they want to do is go to the nearest transport place and make that journey back to where you started. This can be overwhelming but often the best thing is to just call or text back home or go do something with people in the places you are in. This because keeping yourself busy and hopefully enjoying yourself is the best way to adjust to a new place – this is because you do not realise you are doing it.

Most teenagers’ main reason for moving is to university. This is likely to be the first major change in circumstances for many individuals; I know it has been for me. The first time you live by yourself definitely have challenges and these may or may not include dealing with food shopping, figuring out laundry, and attempting (with varying results) to cook. These challenges, or others, I can assure you (and me because I need to) have been dealt with many times before and the only way to become better at it is to keep doing it and eventually it falls into a routine. The other large part of adjusting to university is the social aspect of joining. This may not be immediate despite the huge number of welcome events that you will be inundated with notifications for. Whether it is immediate or takes some time, there will be a group for everyone and you will find them and that is an important fact for anyone moving to university.

Adjusting to university for me has both felt an instant thing but also like it has taken a while, and after just under a month of living here, I finally feel like I’m not on an extended summer school but that this is actually the new normal. Some of the skills and techniques that I have learnt in both Young Reporters and other Youth Voice and leadership roles have definitely served me well in navigating all these new situations. An entertaining example is the ability to embrace any absurdity and just enjoy yourself is something that anyone who has worked in and benefitted from youth work will tell you is an essential skill. The people on my course organised their own meetup to get to know people and this ended up a lot of 18 and 19 year olds playing Splat (a game typically played by primary school children) in an upstairs room of a pub and if that’s not a surreal situation I don’t know what is.

I don’t have the words to say hi to everyone I miss back home in Grimsby or to explain the amount of new experiences that I have been in unfortunately. I’m just going to finish this article which may be my last column (we will see if I’m asked to write again when an article if one is needed to cover, you never really leave these schemes is what I was told once) with a simple message and that is that change can be good but continuity is also needed, it’s just about finding the right balance that works for you.

Article by Young Reporter Andrew Hill
First published in Grimsby Telegraph 15th October 2019