Simon Miles, HND Business second year, shares his experiences of being an estranged student
Being estranged is a completely different lifestyle to what people think. People think that being estranged is a good thing, giving more freedom and a better lifestyle, however this isn't the case: being estranged is a thing that can hurt people quite a lot.
My experience of being estranged has proven to be a negative one and has had a massive effect on my life. Estrangement has a knock on effect where there is a lack of support from people, bearing in mind there isn't any contact with the family, but being estranged has made me more determined to better my life. Before being estranged, I never thought about going to uni and now here I am in my second year, having made more friends, expanded my social circle and learnt a huge amount of things having been given life changing opportunities by the University.
The things others take for granted
Most people take things such as housing and family for granted. For the people that are estranged this is something that hits the hardest. Being estranged, you’d need to have housing all year round as you wouldn’t go home for holidays and special events. Most people also take family for granted. Not having contact with your family can definitely hit people like me, especially at special times of the year such as Christmas and Easter.
Covid hit me more than expected and ended up in me being homeless because viewings weren’t done in person and the support from local councils weren’t there during that time, however it all got better towards the end of Covid and I finally managed to secure a shared house.
There is a lack of awareness around estrangement, before I started uni, I never knew what estrangement was and the support that is out there for those that are estranged.
Support is there if you need it
The University and Student Finance have been able to help massively with extra funding for those that are estranged to help to support themselves. James from the finance team has also been amazing: he's been on hand to support us throughout the difficult times, helping with housing, budgeting and general day to day life. The Student Wellbeing Service has been an amazing support as well, helping with mental health support and being able to develop social skills.
If you're thinking about going to uni as an estranged student, I would say do it. Starting uni may have been a hard thing for me but it is one of the best things that I have done. Since starting uni, I have become a happier and more determined person and the experience has given me the will power to be able to better myself.