Alex shares their experiences of being a student at uni without the support of their family, for Estranged Students Solidarity Week (names have been changed).
Being an estranged student is a struggle by itself, feeling the lack of a solid parental support system especially for a long time has many challenges in itself. These struggles are only amplified by situations such as the current pandemic, many students went home in order to help them cope with the lockdown mentally, physically and financially.
Financial and personal pressure of the pandemic
Being estranged this was particularly hard seeing friends go home to be with their families and not having a home to go to, university has become a home somewhere I finally have my own space and all my belongings are unpacked instead of in suitcases around different friends houses.
This pandemic really showed the struggles particularly financially as it was hard not being able to work due to the shops being closed. I personally have been very lucky to have the support of my friends, their families and the university also have a great team who always provide the most support.
Looking ahead to Christmas
Christmas is fast approaching and again this is a particularly hard time if you are estranged as there is always the possibility of being left with nowhere to spend Christmas, a time where no one should be alone. I have spent the last few Christmases with various friends whose families have been so kind to welcome me into their home for the holiday season or between different relatives’ houses, I have never felt settled.
Becoming more resilient
However although these experiences are tough, it is also important to look at the positives, this situation has caused me to have to be more independent and appreciate those around me who support me even more.
This is not a disadvantage rather a challenge you can overcome and still be happy, it proves resilience and determination really do make such a huge difference.
It is a time to stand together and be proud of how far you’ve come.