“I can’t do this.”

It’s been two weeks since I moved out of Sheffield and started my first full-time job after university. As some of you may know, I recently completed my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences (with Employment Experience) which I did at the University of Sheffield… in my hometown! I didn’t move out and lived at home during my undergrad to save money and give me more flexibility to do what I wanted whether that was juggling studies, part-time jobs and other commitments, I knew that my parents had my back.

I guess I never truly understood how difficult all the “life” stuff is when they would be helping me manage it all whilst I was studying.

Well, until I moved out.

It’s funny because in the past (as in just a few months ago) I would beam over the fact that I will be taking control of my life – truly managing every aspect of it without depending on my family. I was excited to build a life of amazing balance with my new job, health and general house stuff (cleaning, cooking etc) all without my parents around to give me a helping hand.

I wish I could tell you how my life these past two weeks have been so absolutely wonderful and how independence is easy but the truth is, I’ve found it very difficult to adjust to.

Much more difficult than I imagined.

I took a placement year during my studies to work full-time. I ended up working in Sheffield so even though I was ready to move for my placement year – quite eagerly as well – the cards kept me in my familiar, safe environment. Working full time was a transition that took a few weeks for me to get used to, but my family made sure that I was in great shape – helping me meal prep, waking me up when I slept in and even “training” me to get into a routine until eventually, I found my discipline.

After the wonderful experience of my placement year, I expected that transitioning into my new job and new life would be easy. After all, I’ve been waiting to get out of being a student for a whole year now and it had finally come!

Reality hit when I was leaving my home, the familiar environment and people. I suddenly found myself bang on the centre of a bigger city, with unfamiliar faces filling foreign streets (totally unlike my hometown where I had more breathing room) speaking in accents that were new.

The first few hours were fine, I kept telling myself that I’m okay, it’s normal to be anxious and I have so got this. It wasn’t until after I unpacked the last box and looked around in an attempt to make my new space feel like home that I broke down.

All I could feel was fear of not knowing much about the city or what my upcoming job would be like and just… not knowing much. A 180-degree change from knowing everything from the history of the streets I walked on to the people around me.

I was overwhelmed.

There was so much overwhelm and stress that – sorry if this is TMI – my body reacted too: my hormones were all over the place, my period was very late, and I suffered from pulses of horrible headaches throughout my day.

Thankfully, I’ve moved in with someone incredibly patient. I spent time crying to Matt, crying alone in the bathroom then waking up and eventually crying to help myself to sleep.

Despite this, my first working day I put a brave face on. I successfully navigated my way to work, I searched for the confident-Sasha-fierce-like part within me to create a positive first impression and make it through my first working day, I returned home and made a healthy dinner and from exhaustion (from work, the move, the unshakable anxieties since I stepped into the city) fell asleep. I repeated this all week, I even got gym sessions in!

My parents took time out of their day to speak to me, encourage me and keep my spirits high. “Hey, you’re Pauline remember?” *cue Moana – I am Moana*

Thanks, Papa. 👍🏻


People have reassured me that this “part” will pass and in no time, I’ll be jumping around Leeds making an imprint (paw-print 😉) on the city through positive contributions and general badassery – just how I wanted to.

I didn’t envision my first post about moving to be like this and quite honestly, I didn’t want people to know how much the move has impacted me and I’m sure as hell that my Stories on Instagram has given everyone a distorted reality; I mean, I like to document things but my breakdowns is not one of them.

But this has been my first experience moving away and my reality so, here it is served on a cracked plate!

I don’t want you all thinking that moving away is awful and that you should stay where you’re comfortable forever, because there will never be room for improvement and growth (like I have stressed everywhere!) It really just is a new experience, that will get easier from others guidance and my own willingness.

So I am now working on making the whole move a better experience for myself by:

  • 💖 Planning on visits to see my family and friends in Sheffield often
  • 💪🏼 Trying to shift my focus on, “I can’t breathe, I can’t do this.” to… *Edna Mode voice* “PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER! WHAT WILL YOU DO? IS THIS A QUESTION? GO! CONFRONT THE PROBLEM! FIGHT! WIN!” i.e. you rock, Paw.
  • ✨ Taking it easy and not beating myself up for not knowing everything just yet (in terms of my job and new life.)
  • 👭 Going out to meet new people through meet-ups!
  • 🙌🏼 Focus on the exciting future and not dwell on “how it was before at home, at work etc.” This is a new and exciting chapter – experiment, see what works, broaden my horizons!!
  • ❤️ Remembering that there is more to life than work. I will try and not get sucked into the routine and forget the things that spark happiness (referring to creative work especially)

(Edna Mode is honestly my inspiration right now. 😂)

These are things I’ve really tried to practice on my second working week and I can’t tell you enough how much it’s already helping!

What are your experiences on moving out? Have you got any tips? I’d love to hear them!

26 responses to “Moving”

  1. Firstly, *big hugs*.

    Moving to a new city is a very strange experience. I moved from a tiny town to a big city and so it was such a big change for me. I felt scared walking around the streets on my own and I thought everyone was a threat to me, but after a few months I got more comfortable and now I feel safer in Liverpool than my tiny hometown.

    I cried so much during my first year away from home and I would Skype with my mum and Tyrone every single night. I didn’t help that I wasn’t living in a great environment (student accommodation is not the one). I never realised how much my parents had done for me when I lived at home. I’d never cooked myself a meal, used the washing machine, cleaned a toilet, taken the bins out, etc. and these tasks can be so draining on top of everything else you have to deal with in life.

    When Tyrone moved to Liverpool a year later and we moved in together, I insisted we moved a good month or so before he was due to start university because I knew from my experience that he would struggle. It gave him time to adapt and settle before getting stuck into his degree.

    It’s now been 6 years since I moved out and while the homesickness has pretty much disappeared (this is my home now, I guess!) I’m still not use to adulting!

    Give yourself grace. Don’t go too hard at the start and allow time for yourself. This is a difficult experience, and it’s completely normal to feel the way you feel. You are a strong woman and you will get through this. You’ll look back in a few months time and you’ll realise how far you’ve come. I believe in you!

    1. I feel the exact same – honestly, everything you’ve just described!! Sheffield is a lot smaller to Leeds and on top of that, starting a new job at the same time was just an overload! I’m much better now (3 weeks in) but there are sometimes in the night where I cry because I don’t wake up in the room I grew up in. 😅

      Thanks for the love Holly, everyone has really helped with the transition 💖


    But seriously bet it’s so weird going out of an environment you’ve came to take for granted for 20 (or so) years. I can’t imagine adulting myself honestly.


    1. You’re right, but you can do it!!

  3. I think things will get better sooner than you think! When I first moved out for uni (from a quiet town in Greater London to literally the center of the city of London) I found it sooo tough. I’d get lost all the time, I was meeting tons of new people, and I also spent some time just crying it all out. What made things better is meeting a friend that I clicked with that made me forget that I was missing home, and also time of course!

    I didn’t go back home again for another 4 weeks and these days I’m back home every c.4 weeks. I think it’s best to give it some time before you go back home again as it’ll help you to adjust / get rid of the safety net!

    I’m sure within a month you’ll feel tons better! I personally think moving out is so fab for independence, freedom and growth 🙂

    1. Thanks for the advice Kemi! I’m attending some events and meeting up with some people in Leeds I’ve met at other events so hopefully that’ll help! 🤗

  4. Congratulations on scoring that job and moving out! Often times, we don’t realize how dependent we are until we are actually dependent. Certain things won’t be a walk in the park but it’s manageable. It is unfortunate that you had to go through all of that but at least you’re past it now.

    It’s good that you’ve gotten back up and gained the mental strength to push forward with all of these moving/independence challenges. Take a breather and baby steps! You’ll be fine, as you’re still here with us :).

    1. Thanks so much Nancy! Everyone has really helped with the transition, I’m very grateful 🤗 I’m sure this will pass soon.

  5. Congrats on the big move, Pauline! I just moved out earlier this year too and while it’s very exciting, it was very nerve-wrecking as well. Crying yourself to sleep is normal – I did that a few nights but I promise you, it does get better after a while!

    And when it does get better, that’s when you’ve really unlocked that adulting achievement! Best of luck!

    1. Thanks so much Eena! 🤗

  6. Congrats on the job and the move! Sorry to hear that it’s not been as easy to adjust as you thought it would be, but things will get better. Just remember you’re doing great and not to get upset with yourself for finding it difficult. I bet it’s so difficult to move away from what you’ve known, and you’re so brave to make the jump. Take it day by day and keep being amazing, eventually you’ll feel much better.

    I cried on my first night after moving out, even though I only moved ten minutes away from my parents. It was much easier for me after the first couple of days though, but I didn’t actually move out of Leeds, so it’s probably a bit different. I don’t think I’d ever want to leave Leeds to be honest. It’s always been my home and I love it too much. I’m always shocked by how small some cities are in comparison to be honest – I like living somewhere with loads going on!

    Adulting on the other hand, that’s hard. I’m still unable to keep up with all the housework in between working full-time and seeing friends etc. I think it’s just about learning what tasks you can bear to skip if you’d rather spend the time doing something else. Or being more organised than I am! I’m so bad at housework!

    We definitely need to meet up when you’ve got settled! Good luck with everything!

    1. I think it was just a huge shock going from such a green city to a bigger London-like city. I’m just glad that Matt is by my side during the whole transition. YES – I’ll definitely let you know, I’d love to get another Italian with risotto this time 🤣

  7. Oh, moving is definitely hard I can imagine. I’ve lived away from my parents for a few years now but it is definitely an adjustment in the beginning. last year, I moved to a basement apartment with an acquaintance of mine all the way in Brooklyn. I grew up in LA — so that is a 6 hour flight from New York.

    One thing that really helped me was forcing myself to grow my own community– find friends within your workplace, join a yoga class or something if you have time– try to find people to can surround yourself with so that Leeds won’t feel so unfamiliar. It will be hard at first, but from what I know of you, you are definitely quite a confident, out going person if you try. So stick to Matt for now, thank G-d you have him, and pretty soon, you’ll find Leeds to be not such a foreign place after all.

    1. Thanks so much Batsheva! I’m actually planning to join a local yoga class, I’m sure that this will help.

  8. Ahhhh girl we LOVE you! This was such an enormous change for you, I can’t even imagine how overwhelming and scary it has been! So glad you’ve had the support of Matt, and you’re still staying on track and pushing yourself through. I always say the first weeks of a new job or school or location are my least favorite because I HATE not being familiar and comfortable. But at the same time, that’s when we grow the most. You should be so proud of yourself for taking the gigantic step! We can’t wait to read about how much you love your new home in a few months :). You got this girl!

    Susie |

    1. Thanks Susie, you’re so right. This is where I experience the most growth, I can’t wait to finally settle in. 😊

  9. Moving is so stressful! The anxieties you experience are absolutely legit; there’s so much — logistically and financially and emotionally — that comes with the territory of moving. For better or worse, it’s one of those formative experiences of #adulting, and usually it happens so quickly/suddenly that it’s almost a whiplash experience. I remember when I graduated from college and had to move cross-country from New York to San Francisco. Sometimes I still can’t believe it’s already been several years, because I remember that experience quite vividly. I hope you’re adjusting to Leeds or at least trending in that direction. Sometimes it takes a while for everything to sink in and the stressors to tide themselves over, but those too shall pass. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the kind words Cindy! I’m adjusting now, sort of – I’m coming into my 4 week now and feel a lot more settled!

  10. Moving can be challenging. I don’t blame you for being stressed! I am so glad you have support form a great guy like Matt!

    You got this!!!! Fight on!!! <3

  11. Congratulations girl, on your graduation, your first job, and your 22nd year! I don’t think I ever got to wish you a happy birthday!!! I know exactly how you feel – because I too recently moved an hour into the suburbs near San Francisco for my new job and things have been so intense – I get by with a few Instagram posts a month and that’s it. Forget blogging and writing my newsletters, HAHA! It’s definitely highly stressful because everything is new! There’s a saying don’t change more than two things about your life at a time – and you’re already changing 3: new career, new city, new community.

    I don’t think I’ve had a breakdown after moving because I have been very satisfied with my new situation – and it was super unexpected! It’s not as exciting now as it was in the beginning meeting new people, but now I’m standing back to invest more time in the people around me, as well as people back home in NYC and previously in SF.

    Wait did you move in with Matt? That’s one good familiar face right? I think you got this! There will be ups and downs, but I will always say moving away is better than staying home! Not because home isn’t good, but because you’ll need more room to grow. 🙂

    1. Yes! I’ve moved in with Matt. It’s been lovely having him around to help me when I’ve been anxious but there’s still a lot of adjusting to do when I’m not with him (e.g. at work etc.)

      Thanks so much for your kind words Liv! I have so got this!!

  12. Wow, thanks for being honest about all this. It really makes me feel closer to you. I will probably move away from my hometown someday but thinking about it makes me nervous. I have been living out on my own for awhile now and working full times jobs for about 10 years or more. I’m just afraid to not have certain family close by anymore. However, I do need to change from this place if I want to grow even more.

    I’m glad you were able to pull together for that first day though. Good luck with it all. ♥

    1. I wanted to keep it real because it hasn’t been a walk in the park (as much as I hoped it would be!)

      Thanks so much for your kind words, I hope it’ll improve soon!

  13. Moving to a city is difficult, especially when it comes with a brand new job. I can fully understand the difficult period of transitioning from a student to a young working adult. This is why I am very impressed by you because you are relocating as well.

    I remember how I temporarily relocated to San Francisco to work for a really short period of time and I got quite homesick.

    Gambatte Pauline! Once all these tough times have passed, you will be impressed by yourself that you survived through it!

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words Sakura! I’m about to go into my fourth week of the new city and working life, I’m feeling a lot more confident!!

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