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‘I miss my dog’: An ode to the bittersweet feeling of leaving home

We’ll all miss our dogs

Sure, leaving home is great. Variety is the spice of life and moving to university and living on your own in an unfamiliar place certainly constitutes as variety.

A lot is made of how hard it is for parents and the impact their children leaving home to go to university has on them. Their flock are flying the nest to study a BA in Sheffield and it's all too much. We've all seen it – Mum having a cry on the forecourt of your halls and Dad trying to get her in the car because he cannot wait to get home and have a bit of peace and quiet for the first time in eighteen years. At least, that's how my Dad made it out to be.

But what about us? The ones taking our first steps into the world and becoming our own people and pretending we aren't petrified. With the excitement of leaving home comes the terror of actually doing it – you can't have one without the other.

Soon a new city awaits, full of strangers waiting to be drunkenly added on Facebook, substandard student housing to be inhabited, the future waiting to be failed.

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It's okay to admit you miss home

Leaving home is a florid mess of emotions – missing home will be one of them. Yes, it's exciting to be out in the world and forging your own path, like the moment the plane first lands in a foreign country and you step out of the airport. That's not to say that you won't miss home, however.

It's natural to miss something you've grown used to in eighteen years or more, of course it's going to be hard – don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The bus route to college and the little daily habits and the way your home smells on a Sunday afternoon – all of these familiar comforts will be taken from you and replaced with a whole new set of routines.

Soon it'll be the walk into uni at 8:30am, the views from the seminar room window, the peaceful nighttime walk, or run, home after a night out when the roads are empty and only the streetlamps illuminate the way. That's what you have to look forward to, but that doesn't mean it isn't heartbreaking to be homesick.

I spent my first week of university, when not in introductory lectures or in Corp not realising I was in Corp, in my room, wondering whether I'd made the right decision. Homesickness is a test that doesn't come as part of your course, and failing it is okay.

Friends from home will make you realise how much you've changed

At first the differences in who you were pre-uni and who you are obvious – at university you can be whoever you like, even pretend to like techno, and who you were at school doesn't matter anymore. But after a while these changes become less obvious, harder to notice on yourself.

So when friends from home visit for the first time the effects of university will become apparent – this is one of the effects of leaving home. With university becomes a level of freedom and independence that would make Brexiteers delight, and soon the lifestyle you've adapted to will leave it's mark.

Your accent may soften, you become more lenient when it comes to the debate of 'sc-on' and 'sc-own' and what the true name for a bread bun is, some people really do genuinely like techno. These adjustments in environment permeate and become part of you – accept it.

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I miss my dog

University is three years of admiring other people's pets and realising that the biggest mistake you've ever made was leaving behind your own. Yes, missing your parents is a given, but what about your pet? A dog doesn't know you're going to university, it'll never know how much you like to lift it up in front of a mirror and just make them look at how precious they are. The fact is, you'll never know true sadness until you've had to leave your pet behind.

Going home just reminds you of what you had before

Obviously, visiting home is a given whilst at university. You'll pay the extortionate rail fare, cram everything into a bag big enough to fit dirty clothes, and head home – that's the exciting part.

It never occurs to you that when you have to go back to university, clothes washed and bank balance suffering under the weight of the train tickets, that it'll be just as sad as the first time. You're reminded of your old life, your routines and habits and the nostalgia of certain streets and smells, and it makes it all the more difficult to leave again.

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Home has those bonds on you, those little things that make you miss what you once had and who you once were, nostalgic ripples that remind you of memories you've made in the early days of your life.

Remember, that was only the beginning of your life, and university gives you the chance to create a whole new set of memories in a totally different environment. Trust me, once you leave university, you'll have a whole new set of memories to long for as well.