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Leaving Home for the First Time

I want to give you my experience and advice on taking a gap year and moving away from home for the first time to university.

I finished sixth form with 3 B’s in A level English, Politics and History. The university love of my life was Warwick who wanted AAB. Unfortunately, I had to go to my insurance Royal Holloway to study Politics and international relations… I was living at home, travelling by train every day. I missed out on many things and I simply did not enjoy the course content.

So I dropped out. If you have started university and do feel this way don’t think about what other people will say. My main concern was enjoying the course and I did not want to pay £9000 for a course I did not like – So I took a gap year!

It can be very daunting; thinking to yourself an ENTIRE free year what am I going to do? Just don’t plan ahead too much.

A Job – I was lucky I had a job at a GP surgery. If you don’t have a job do not worry! Start browsing for jobs. It isn’t a must when on a gap year as there are many other things you can do! (Temping is good) 

Travelling – The reality of this as a student is tough, financially. However there are many companies out there who are willing to cover everything from internships abroad or even at home! I visited Dubai twice as my uncle needed someone to look after my baby cousin. For more info visit realgap.

Volunteer – It’s free! There is nothing better than making a difference in someone’s life in your gap year. I volunteered with Muslim hands and Orphans in Need.

LOADS to do in your free time – re-decorate the house, learn to cook new things for university, and learn to drive, learn a language. The most important thing for me was reading up on Islam in the time I had.

Hopefully you have a gap year that will change you as a person in a positive way. It can be boosting your Imaan (the case for me) or building your self confidence. Just remember that it is a MASSIVE learning opportunity. I certainly do not regret mine, I’m now off to Warwick after re-taking exams, I got to read up on Islam and I am so thankful to Allah for giving me the best university after a patient wait.

Now the prep begins for leaving home! Again another intimidating experience BUT –

Do not let anything hold you back! I had many family problems at home and did not want to leave last year. This year I am ready to take on the challenge that waits.

Do not worry about university life, clubbing, drinking etc., if you do not participate in these socials. There are so many other aspects to university and you will find like minded people!

Keep busy, you won’t miss home too much – societies, reading and have fun!

Take things that make you feel at home. Photo frames or even your bed sheets!

My most important piece of advice which I have to offer is, MAKE SURE YOU ARE HAPPY in all the decisions that you take. Surround yourself with people who know you and love you dearly and I really do promise that good things come to those who wait.

If you have any worries or concerns about taking a gap year or starting university, call Muslim Youth Helpline to talk to one of the advisors, on 0208 808 2008, or visit



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