2019100120191007 (R4)

On the eve of packing for university, 18-year-old Anoushka talks to fellow students and parents about whether it's best to leave long-term lovers behind, or to try to weave them into the fabric of a new start on campus?

As Fresher’s Week kicks off across the country, Anoushka and her friends talk at length about how difficult it might be to keep relationships from their schooldays going once they begin at Uni. It's a difficult decision, especially when parents and even university officials are offering contradictory advice! She's sceptical that school romances can last, but some of those she’s closest to are adamant they can navigate the pitfalls of being on different campuses and will stay together throughout.

Anoushka's parents are keen for her to throw herself into her new opportunities without worrying about a boyfriend. Some of her friends are guided by parents who themselves weathered college separation and believe it's possible to make anything work if you work at it! An online search points her towards older students keen to help others making the difficult decisions they once grappled with. There’s information on everything, from dealing with fears about cheating lovers to how often you should meet up to keep romance alive!

It’s an issue being played out in homes across the country as difficult decisions are made by new students. On the eve of transmission Anoushka will be starting in Manchester and preparing for the fun to come. It’s a journey Anna Michaux has already made, and when she did she and her boyfriend in London committed to staying together. They managed to do just that for the first two years and she tells Anoushka that far from giving up on new opportunities, the experience helped her appreciate university much more.

“If you can live apart for up to three years, that’s pretty impressive. It shows that you can trust each other and that you care enough about the person to take five-hour coaches every month. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is!” And Anna isn’t sad that she gave up a lot to try and make things work: “It’s a strange situation when you start at college and there’s this focus on young people and being at Uni with lots of partners. That wasn’t ever part of why I went and I never felt like I was missing out.”

Can long-term relationships survive the move to Uni and is it worth trying to keep them?