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Back to uni blues

30 Jan 2019

It can be difficult to settle back into university life after the hubbub of Christmas and the holidays. Unlike returning from Summer break, when it’s a new academic year and a fresh start, for most students, January and February can mean diving headfirst into exams, projects and even dissertations. It can be a shock to the system – weeks of meeting with friends and family, long lies and late nights and just generally relaxing, suddenly it’s back to reality and you’re wondering what’s hit you.

Here are a few things you’ll find familiar:

Why is it so cold and where’s all the food?

Chances are, like you, your flatmates went home for the holidays, meaning your flat has lain cold and unloved for several weeks. You’ve been used to walking around your parents house in your PJs  but now, in the icebox that is your home, you’ve got on two jumpers, a coat and a scarf as you wait for the ancient heating system to raise the temperature to a sensible level.

At least you can warm yourself up with a bowl of dubiously dated soup from the back of the cabinet. Other than that, the cupboards are bare and the fridge only holds a half empty bottle of milk that someone should have thrown out in December but now everyone is too scared to touch as it appears to have turned into cheese. Oh, how you long for last week when you were living in a warm house with a well-stocked fridge and a never-ending supply of chocolate Hobnobs.

Next year, you’ll know to keep the heating on low and arrange for a supermarket delivery the day you move back in.

counting pennies

Why so poor?!

As above – where’s the money? You’d gotten used to your parents shelling out for things and were hailed as the prodigal child, revered for your very presence at home. Now, you’re desperately cleaning out pockets of every jacket trying to scrape together enough money for a Subway before your student loan gets paid into your bank.

There’s not really a lot we can say to make this better. January’s a tough month, whether you’re a student or working full-time. Overspending at Christmas combined with an extra-long month (did you know January has 97 days?!) means that you’re likely to always feel the pinch at the start of the year. However, budgeting for your unirider means that you’ll at least be able to go places...even if you can’t buy anything once you get there!

When? What? Why? Who?

Depending on how your course/degree is structured, you may have dealt with your exam stress before Christmas and now you’re looking forward to starting a new module.

Lucky you!

If that’s not the case, though, we feel your pain.  Taking exams after a prolonged break is a nightmare. Sure, you had great intentions of putting in the time over the holidays but...well, it just never happened.  So, now, you’re reading your notes from last semester, wondering if they even made sense at the time because they definitely don’t make any sense now!

Don’t panic, though. It’s all still stored in your brain, you just need to find a way to locate it again. Check to see if your lecturers have an online archive of their modules (most will) and have a quick revision session. Or, meet up with others on your course to test your knowledge. All will become clear!

Routine schmoutine!

It’s not even about having to get up early in the morning although, we agree, that’s a major struggle. It’s having to be at the right place at the right time with the right stuff with you. You can’t just make a casual plan with your tutor to meet up with them later in the day if you both feel like it. It’s back to two-hour lectures for one module in one lecture hall, study groups in the library and tutor groups halfway across campus later the same day.  Just make sure you schedule time in your day for the important things, like Netflix.

study group
One is the loneliest number.

Whether you like it or not you’ve been used to having a lot of company over the holidays– visiting with Aunties and Grandparents, catching up with old friends. Now you’re back at uni, unless you live in Halls or an eight-bed flat, it’ll seem a lot quieter.  Yes, you need to keep your head down and study, but you also need to make sure that you have time off to reconnect with friends. Kill two birds with one stone and invite friends over for a study group (but make sure there’s time set aside for chatting and snacking because, you know, all work and no play...)

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