Ask Jigsaw: Stress of college from home

Ask Jigsaw: Stress of college from home

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Hi Jigsaw, 

I have just found out that all of my college lectures will be online. As a result, I will not be moving out. I’m very stressed and upset about this. I feel living with my family has resulted in the deterioration of my mental health. I can’t talk to my parents about it, as they are the source of this stress. Also I will very rarely see my friends. Any recommendations on managing this?


Hi Disa22,  

College life will be very different this year. We’ve heard from many young people who are feeling disappointment, stress, and anger because they are missing out on experiences that everyone else took for granted.   

Keeping hope

It might feel like your one opportunity to move out has been taken away from you. It takes patience, but remember that moving from home has been postponed, not cancelled.

On site classes will return and, at some stage, you will get the opportunity to move out again. Read more about Ross and how he deals with the disappointment of not moving out. 

Family stress

Moving to college accommodation often represents more than an opportunity for freedom and independence. For a lot of people, it can provide a resolution to family conflict

It’s true that physical distance from family helps us to avoid tension at home. However, there are some ways to create this space whilst still living at home; 

  • In a tense situation, give yourself permission to leave by getting up and going to your room, or for a walk outside. 
  • Create your own atmosphere at home by listening to music on headphones. 
  • Schedule and prioritise activities outside of the home. For example, use the local library to attend online lectures, or study in a nearby café.  
Jigsaw clinician
Perhaps consider ways that your parents could make living at home a little easier for you, and use these strategies to communicate what you want.

Conflict at home can often arise when we don’t feel listened to, or understood

Assertive communication strategies can help us to get a message across simply and directly. 

Perhaps consider ways that your parents could make living at home a little easier for you, and use these strategies to communicate what you want.  

Looking after your mental health

It sounds like you have experienced first hand how stress at home can significantly impact mental health. Looking after your mental health is more important now than ever, particularly with all the changes that have come your way.  

Speaking to a trusted friend about your experience can really help to share the burden of what you’re going through.

There are also free mental health supports in college that you could get in touch with.  

Keeping connected

Restricted contact with friends doesn’t make handling these challenges any easier! There are ways to keep connected with old friends, and to make new ones in college.

Societies, sports groups and events are brilliant ways of meeting new people. They might be organised a little differently this yearbut because they are so valuable to the college experience, most are trying to find ways to remain open to you.  

This year is not what anyone expected it to be.  With so much that we don’t have control over, it’s all the more important that to focus on what we can control. 

I hope that you can use some of these ideas to make the experience of starting college from home a positive one.  

All the best,


Jigsaw clinician

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