Going the Distance

18 months ago, I packed my bags to set off on a new chapter of my life – attending university away from home. This meant a couple of things: One – I wouldn’t be seeing my family every day, and Two – I would need to become increasingly self-sufficient.  So here’s what I have found on my journey so far…

Technology is AWESOME
Nowadays with Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, SMS and phone calls, it is a lot easier to keep in touch with your loved ones at home without missing them like crazy. Generally, I call mum and dad most days to catch up on what’s going on in our worlds, just like we would at home. Sometimes I think that they don’t even realise I’ve left!

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Make time for visits
There comes a time when all forms of technology just don’t cut it and you start to have family-time withdrawals. I have found that treating weekdays like business hours and studying as much as possible in this time frame helps free up some time every now and then on weekends. Lucky enough for me, home is only an approximate 2 hour car trip away, so when I can, I try to go home for a weekend or my family comes to me. Sometimes we make an occasion out of it and go somewhere for dinner, or even have a nice dinner at home. After all, they say it’s the simple things in life that count!

Go out and make friends
Moving away from home is particularly daunting when you do so on your own and leave your family and friends behind. It isn’t very hard to get caught up feeling lonely and of course this is when the home-sick bug hits you for six. Making friends is the perfect solution to this. For me, I felt that living on college for the first year out of home was a wise choice as you are always surrounded by others and there’s no time to feel lonely. It was a great foundation for new friendships, getting to know the area, and to merely adjust to a new life away from family and home.

There are many other ways to build friendships including joining a sporting club or other hobby organisations. Funny enough, finding a job can also be beneficial for your social life as you mix with other people you may have never had the chance to.

Be organised
In the adult world of living away from family, all of a sudden there’s cooking, washing and cleaning all to be done with no help from your family. It really is a juggling act finding a balance between study and maintaining a house. For me, this is probably one of my biggest downfalls. Sometimes the ‘maintaining a house’ side of things outweighs the ‘study’ as I am professional at finding ways to procrastinate. “I need food to live, right? Cooking myself a three course meal is totally essential and study can wait” – yep, these are some of my famous words since moving out of home. Something tells me that a THREE course daily meal probably isn’t essential and there comes a time where study CANNOT wait any longer.  My biggest attempt at organisation includes preparing foods that can be frozen and used as needed after long days of study or uni, and that way I have no reason for house-procrastination!

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Although living away from family certainly has its challenges, there are many ways you can make this process easier. Simply, distract yourself by keeping busy and surround yourself with people who make you laugh and are purely good company.  When I have days where I really miss my family, it’s the simple things like picking up the phone that make a world of difference. Other times, it’s important not to let study take over, and remember that it’s OK to take some time out to travel to visit family. After all, they are the ones who have supported me to get here in the first place.

Until next time,

Kristie

Holidays, where are you?

This is it. This is the last holidays I have to relax before I enter into my final year of uni – officially received my results and passed everything. YAY! While I love living on College, it feels so good to come home and not have to worry about uni work or being woken at 3am when someone comes home from the club. There are some days though where I don’t feel as though I’m on holidays. With work, my little brother graduating grade 12, trying to keep my boyfriend occupied and Christmas just around the corner, these holidays feel jam-packed– and it’s only just beginning!

My Parents, Alex, and his lovely grad partner, Kathrine, ready for graduation!

The day after I arrived in Townsville I began work as a Christmas Casual in Townsville’s newly renovated shopping centre; which seems to steal all my money. I traded in my study brain for a… working one? With the shopping centre already so packed a month away from Christmas, I have decided I should attempt to start my Christmas shopping early. Hopefully I can avoid the pre-Christmas freak-out and the dreaded car-park hunt.

With my parents living it up in New Zealand, I have been elected the official Christmas interior decorator while they’re away and I take this role very seriously. I love Christmas. I think my family is feeling the festive season early this year with Mum making an army of Christmas Snowmen and my brother’s also getting a jump on Christmas presents. It’s great to have everyone together to celebrate over a lunch filled with seafood and tropical fruits. I love receiving presents, and more importantly (cough cough) giving presents. I think there’s something about Christmas that brings peace of mind after several months of going crazy trying to find the perfect present.

Christmas shopping is going well and Mum’s little army of Snowmen gather around the Concannon Snowman, ready for a busy month ahead

So in-between helping my little brother organise himself for his graduation, working, Christmas shopping, watching the cricket and occasionally having a quiet day on my days off work,  I ventured out and went to watch a Crocs game. Unfortunately, this became their TENTH loss this season… out of 10 games! Being so busy, I have slowly gotten around to catching up with friends. With some friends still finishing exams and others working, it’s sometimes hard to find a time that suits everyone. Thankfully I’m home for three months.

When will the Crocs get their first win?!

Overall, being at home is a time to relax. It’s important to take time out to recharge before tackling the study workload again. Family are the most important thing and I think now that I live so far away that’s become more evident. It’s important to spend as much time as you can together because you never know when they’ll ditch you for New Zealand.

Merry Christmas!