Caitlin Pringle shares her story of how she dealt with heartbreak during university. She tells us all about being alone, having fun and getting her confidence back.
“It’s about focusing positively on what you have around you, not focusing on the bad things you’ve lost.”
University can seem frightening. It’s a big step forward in an often-unsure future, but it all seems to be easier when you’re doing it with your favourite person right by your side. That is, until they’re no longer there.
Heartbreak can be hard at the best of times, with people around you and being somewhere safe and comfortable, but losing someone you love during university – no matter the year you’re in – is terrifying. You start to feel alone. You start to question your choice of moving there, especially if you’ve both travelled to the same place.
Relationships do struggle with distance, or even just change. It’s not uncommon to notice signs of weakness in your relationship when you first move to university, or even with upcoming due dates or final year nerves. Stress and change affecting you, is going to end up affecting everything in your life eventually.
The early days
The first weeks are hard, as they undoubtedly always will be. But then there’s the chance of seeing them around on night’s out, seeing the person you were once with being with someone else.
My breakup wasn’t an easy one – it wasn’t just losing the person I’d spent the past two years with, it was messy.
As it happened in the middle of November, I had the time to rehabilitate back home over Christmas. Leaving university early on in the first term is never really a good idea – it’s always best to stick it out. So I waited the extra month to come home in my holidays, and that’s something I really advise.
Being at home was helpful, I got to spend time with my family and my friends, all who’d been there throughout my relationship and who helped me feel okay. I’d also proven to myself that I was strong enough to wait until December to come home – that I would be okay on my own.
Getting back up
January was a weird time. It had been two months since I’d been heartbroken – and I still was. I was back on my own again, and although I really knew I wasn’t alone, it sometimes felt like it. I’d find myself sitting in my room just waiting around. Something my best friend at university told me that was important – do things that makes a funny story.
“I realised how closed off from uni life I’d been in my relationship.”
It might sound ridiculous, and you don’t have to follow it, but it put me on the path to change – and being happy again. It started off with small things, building my confidence up to go out often, speak to people I’d never met, taking a chance on dating. It was awkward at times, embarrassing the ‘morning’ (afternoon) after, but it made me laugh. It made me forget about my relationship, it made me forget about feeling alone, because I really wasn’t.
I realised how closed off from uni life I’d been in my relationship. I began to get closer to my flatmates, which have grown into strong friendships. I felt more confident in myself, I was enjoying university the way I was meant to.
Healing and enjoying yourself
It took a while. I’m not suggesting you go on extreme dares and push yourself to the limit, but it’s good to be distracted whilst your heart and mind heal. It’s good to make sure you’re enjoying yourself – it’s about focusing positively on what you have around you, not focusing on the bad things you’ve lost.
Heartbreak is never easy. And it’s different for everyone. The most important thing to remember is to focus on yourself, on the people who love you and things you have before you. Always remember it will work out okay in the end – you never know you could be six months down the line and meet someone who makes you completely forget anyone before, as I’ve been lucky enough to.
Just remember to try and learn to be happy with yourself and take your time to heal properly.