City life and university life go hand in hand, but this has changed with online education. In Hungary – and in several other countries – students had to move out of the dormitory, which, for many, became a place of acceptance and a chance for a new life. This year, because of the Coronavirus outbreak, they had to move home and go back into their old lives for the second time since last March. For some students, this means facing people and challenges again that they had already left behind.
Imagine living in a big city. You go to university, work, and live in a dormitory among other, like-minded students who, over the years, become your family. Then, one day, you get the news that you need to move out because of a global pandemic and suddenly you’re back to the life you lived before going to university.
“I’ve gained a sense of independence, which my mother does not comprehend,” says Violetta Kovács, a student of the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary. She currently lives in her hometown, Sopron, about 200 km away from the country’s capital. “She wants to control my life and how I spend my own money.”
Kovács moved back home to her mother. Her parents divorced when she was little and her brother lives in another city. “Our personalities are incredibly different and we argue 2-3 times a week. Being raised by someone who has unattended depression was never easy, but as an adult, I can now see the damage she caused with a clearer head. It is not to say she is an awful person, but I do think that parents should be okay mentally before raising a child,” she says about her mother.
Psychologist Rebeka Vértesaljai tells me a few general advice that can help people who had to move home, such as “setting common rules with family members and sharing our feelings with them.” She also mentions that “finding sources of happiness and rewarding ourselves” are very important.
Kovács can also list a few things she likes about being home. “I can work out alone when mom is working, have a roof above my head and mom’s cooking, as well as my city being quiet.” However, she then adds, “But I do not feel like I belong here. I miss everything! My friends in general, mostly from the dorm and uni.”
Another piece of advice of Vértesaljai said was “keeping our long-term goals in sight.” For many, including Kovács this means moving back to the big city. She keeps this goal in mind and when asked about what she’s looking forward to the most, once she can go back, she said “being myself, being loved for who I am by my friends, and not being judged for my pink hair.”