Written by Young Adult Carer Rosario.
Starting University should be an exciting time but could be nerve-wracking as a young adult carer during the pandemic. Although you have extra responsibilities, you can make the most of balancing social, academic and career aspirations with your home life.
Help is available
I t is worthwhile contacting the head of your department, your personal supervisor, course rep and students union to notify them of your role as a carer to get the help you need. If you are registered with us at Carer Support Wiltshire, your support worker may be able to liaise with the uni if you are having problems for example with completing an assignment on time due to difficulties at home. It is really important to keep everyone who can help in the loop about your situation however hard and not to feel ashamed that way you get more support. If you are not registered with us, and live in Wiltshire, you can do so here.
Many Universities provide support for students with caring responsibilities and even extra funding. UCAS provides a page with information about how to go about this here.
Making Friends and the fear of feeling lonely
It might feel daunting to balance caring, studying and friendship but it is so important to take the time for yourself to socialise with young people, carers deserve to have fun too. One of the most important aspects of going to university is the friendships you make that can often last a lifetime. Despite social distancing, you can still make new friends!
There may be Facebook groups you can join for your course and halls of residence where you will be in a 'Bubble' with your new flatmates. This will enable you to make connections before you even get there. If you have something in common for example you have an assignment due don't be afraid to message coursemates asking how they are getting on with it. The app Houseparty is good for playing games and breaking the ice.
Everyone likes someone who is helping a good way to bond with your flatmates is to offer them a cuppa or ask them how they are feeling about the big transition from school/college to uni.
Making close friends can take time if you are worried about this before leaving or struggling once you are there talk to friends and family for reassurance and to hear the voice and personal experience of someone familiar. Don't worry if it takes time to make friends everyone's university experience is different.
Feeling more at home
If your budget allows for it to make your uni room into a cosy, safe haven you enjoy being in this could include a cosy throw to snuggle up in and cushions, a nice mug for hot drinks, plants and a good lamp for your desk to study at.
Familiarise yourself with your new campus and town or city, you could do this by going on walks, bike rides or runs.
For more information on starting university, funding and alternatives, click here.
You are not alone.