Manchester Student-made Wellbeing

Feeling Homeless at University

Reading Time: 3 minutes

University is weird. Many of us move away from home for the first time to start the next chapter in a completely new city. We are thrown into halls with a bunch of strangers and before Christmas many of us have already found the place we are going to be living the following year. Over time, the home we left behind feels less like ours and the houses we end up in are ones we don’t often occupy long enough to feel like ours either.

Not having somewhere you can completely call home can be really disorienting. For me, it caused a fair amount of anxiety and discomfort. There are many things I had wished I’d known about to help alleviate these feelings and that’s what I want to share with you in this article.

1. Keep home dynamics similar

I went from a flat of 10 to a house of 5 and now I am living with 3 entirely different people. All of these environments have had totally different dynamics, making it harder for me to feel completely settled. One way you can promote a feeling of homeliness is by keeping the dynamics similar.  If you find that you enjoy the people you are currently living with, why not ask them to move in with you next year? This sense of continuity will help you establish a family vibe as you go through your degree. If living with the same people isn’t possible, try moving in with people that have a similar energy or have similar house dynamics that you do.

2. Keep home location similar

Many landlords will offer you the opportunity to stay in the house for as many years as you wish. When you move out of halls and into your second-year house, take the opportunity to see if you can live there next year too. Keeping the same house will give you more time to achieve that sense of home.

However, if you have bad experiences with your landlord or an unhappy with your house – do consider moving to a house that is better suited. A way to feel more at home is to keep the location similar. I have lived in Fallowfield throughout my degree and while I may not always feel like my house is my home, I do feel as if I have a home in Fallowfield.

3. Choose who you live with wisely

If you are looking for a feeling of homeliness, move in with homely people. People that appreciate a good film night in and shared dinners are great at making a homely environment. In my second year, I lived with people who all had their own lives and we didn’t spend that much time together as a house. For some, this could be an isolating experience.

4. Clean the house

Your mother wouldn’t let you live in the mess you probably currently live in, nor should you! Cleaning your house is a great way to make your house more relaxing and enjoyable to live in. Make a rota in your house and start treating your house with the love you want it to give back to you.

5. Decorate

Decorating a space is a great way to make a house feel more like yours. While decorating your bedroom is standard procedure, many people neglect the rest of the home. My housemates and I all put £10 each into decorating the house. We went to a charity shop and picked up 100 records to put on the walls, a small table, some vases, some sea monkeys and a lamp, all with money left over to buy fairy lights (which we put inside beer bottles to make more lamps). With other pieces of decoration that we took from our own bedrooms, our whole house was soon decorated. Be sure to ask your landlord about the rules of sticking things on walls etc.

6. Establish a relationship with Manchester

Manchester is going to be your home for a while – you might as well get to know it. Travelling around the city is the perfect way to get a sense of what Manchester is all about. Find your perfect coffee shop, go on a street art tour, see all the local attractions. While Manchester may not be your forever home, getting to know the ins and outs and finding places you truly love is going to make you feel more at home. Below I have included some other articles that may give you some inspiration to get you started: