Calling All Freshers: Dealing With Homesickness

It’s that time of year again! Summer is almost over for those of you who are students and it’s time to think about what’s coming up next. I know for a lot of people, university will be at the forefront of your every thought at the moment.

As someone who has literally been there, done that (didn’t get the t-shirt, but I have a couple of hoodies does that count?) I feel like I can actually offer some genuine advice in this area and it’s something I have done a few times.

I find that the best advice comes from someone who has been through the same thing, and can therefore give advice from the other side and the topic I’m going to get into in a minute is something that I’ve had my fair share of experience with.

Homesickness is definitely a major worry for university students, as this is probably the first time in your life you’ll experience living away from home (if that’s something you chose to do. Of course, not everyone chooses to move home for university, and that’s cool- you do you, but I’m talking to the general bunch today) and it can be pretty tough at times. But there are ways to make is easier, tried and tested by yours truly, and that’s what I wanted to share today:

FAMILIAR THINGS

What often makes moving away to university so scary is the fact that everything is so different. You are no longer surrounded by the things you have probably had around you for the majority of your life, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.

Normally before you move away, you’ll buy a ton of new stuff for your new student digs. But when you’re packing everything up, why not include some of your favourite bits from home? Pick out a couple of home ware bits*, like cushions or ornaments, that are in your bedroom at home to put into your new place.

Surrounding yourself with familiar things that you recognise and love will make you feel more at home wherever you are. It’ll make home feel closer so you’ll feel comfortable and able to get stuck in.

* You’ll be warned by your universities to not take anything too valuable to your new accommodation and I’d recommend you take notice of that. At least until you’ve gotten yourself settled in and figured out who you’re living with. Better to be safe than sorry!

PHONE HOME… REGULARLY 

Freshers’ week is such a busy time in the academic calendar, with all of the different events going on, and if you have moved to university the days just seem to fly by regardless of what time of year it is. So it is not uncommon for you to have gone a very long time without actually speaking to anyone from home.

This is okay, of course, but if you’re feeling a little homesick it can make things feel worse. When you’re out of contact with your family/friends/loved ones it can sometimes make you feel more isolated and alone than you really are.

To avoid this make sure you block out some time to call home. Block out a decent amount of time where you can go to your room, or a quiet place, and have a genuine conversation with those on the other end. If you can, try to make this a routine where at the same time every night, or every week, you call home and have a catch up.

It can be hard going from seeing and speaking to the same people every day to not seeing them at all, so try to keep in contact whenever you can. It’ll remind you that those you miss are never too far away and should make things a little easier to handle.

USE SOCIETIES AND ACTIVITIES

There are countless of opportunities to try new things and meet new people at university and one of the easiest ways to do this is to join a society. Every university has a bunch of various societies and clubs that are open for students to join (you’ve probably heard about them on open days) and are normally one of the most common ways friendships are formed.

I can’t really give too much advice on this one, as I was not actually connected to any society while at university. Most of the clubs and societies at my university were linked to a sport and I am so not a sporty person, so that was out of the question for me!

This isn’t the case for all unis however and there are normally clubs and societies to suit any interest. Take a good look during your Freshers’ Fayre and see if there’s anything you fancy. Most societies offer a week or so ‘free trial’ that’ll allow you to try a new sport or hobby without paying anything.

Or if societies aren’t your thing, most student unions host events throughout the year. These are normally always free and are a great way to connect with people you mightn’t have encountered otherwise.

Throwing yourself into clubs or activities is a great way to combat homesickness. It’ll encourage you to get out there, meet new people and be busy so you won’t have chance to think about home! Plus, if you’re having a good time and are making new friends you mightn’t feel as homesick as you’re making a new home for yourself.

KEEP OLD ROUTINES

Homesickness usually comes about because everything is so different to what you’re used to when you move away. And although this can be nerve-wracking at first, it is a wonderful opportunity for you to make your own routines and create a lifestyle that works for you.

In the meantime, however, you can stick to some of your old routines that you made at home. The easiest way I can think of doing this is by watching the same TV shows as you did at home. I know it seems a little trivial, but it can be so helpful. Again it’s about making things familiar.

If there’s a certain show you watch on a certain day, take some time out of your routine to sit down and watch it like you would at home. This tip isn’t massively practical during Freshers’ Week, as things are normally so busy around this time and I’d encourage you to socialise and get to know your flatmates first and foremost, but further on down the line it might become more helpful.

BE HONEST AND OPEN UP

Finally, if things are really feel to difficult and you find yourself struggling during university please speak to someone about it.

A good thing to remember at this point is that literally every other person who has moved out is going through the same thing as you, even if they don’t show it. Start a conversation with your friends about it and see if you can help each other. There are also counselling services that are free for students available on campus and I’d urge you to use these if you feel like you need to.

There will be student representatives and plenty of other members of staff around who are trained and understand exactly what you’re going through, so try to find someone to talk about it with.

If none of these seem too appealing for whatever reason, you can also seek support from your GP if needed.

Jack Kornfield


Living away from home while studying at university can be such a wonderful experience, and one I’m definitely grateful for having, but it can also be difficult at times and that’s okay.

I experienced homesickness on and off throughout my three years at university and luckily only experienced it negatively towards the end of my degree.

University is a weird and wonderful time and I know you’re going to have a brilliant time once you get there. I am so proud of you for all of your hard work and I wish you every future success.

If you have any tips for homesickness, or any university experience stories you’d like to share please let me know.

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials:

(Past posts on university: newest-oldest)

Here’s What No One Tells You About Finishing University

Freshers’ Week Essentials

Second Year Experience

A Guide to Taking Notes at University

Freshers’ Week: Expectations vs. Reality

Money Saving Tips That Actually Work

This is What They Don’t Tell You On Open Day!

Bloody hell I’ve done a lot!

 

 

 

 

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Here’s What No One Tells You About Finishing University

The time has finally come: I have finished my three year degree. I am no longer a student; I will no longer be attending university.

Life has been pretty crazy for the past few months (read: past year) and I always imagined that as soon as university was over, my life would get back on track and everything would be exactly how I wanted it. Oh bless past, naive me!

Don’t get me wrong, I am constantly flooded with relief now that everything is finished and handed in, but I didn’t account for the continuing stress, worry and general sense of unsure that’s still there. And that’s the thing- no one seems to tell you what it’s like finishing university. Sure, we’ve all heard the success stories and probably witnessed the glorious pride that third year students have when they’ve finished, but there’s loads of other things that I’m experiencing right now that I did not expect.

So allow me today to be the person to heed a word of warning. Finishing university is an amazing achievement and this is a time of totally celebration and relaxation, but there’s also a lot of weird stuff that goes on too.

THE MOURNING PERIOD

The past three years have passed by in what feels like a blur. Everything has been going at like a hundred miles an hour since I clicked that ‘accept offer’ button on UCAS three years ago. I actually can’t believe that I have finished my degree and will (hopefully!) be graduating next month! All of those years of hard work, stress and tears have come to a close and will hopefully all be worth it in the end.

As everything has just flown by, I can’t seem to reflect properly on my experience over these past three years and that’s making it hard for me to accept that it’s over. One minute I was working my arse off and living on my own and now I’m back in my family home with literally nothing to do. It’s a very strange situation and I know I should be taking full advantage of this chill time, but I can’t help but feel a little unsettled.

All of the routines I created for myself through my life at university have suddenly dissolved and no longer exist; I am trying to settle into living at home with my parents, after having my own freedom and independence for so long and although I know I have nothing to do, I can’t shake the feeling that I should be doing something productive instead of binging on daytime TV.

It’s taken me a long time to realise that I actually need a little time to kind of mourn the fact that I am no longer a student; that this part of my life, that has been such a major part of it for so long, is no longer there. I will no longer have that kind of lifestyle that you grow so used to over the course of your degree and that is a hard thing to accept and then try to change.

BURSTING THE BUBBLE

One major thing I have realised since moving home and being surrounded by people who actually have normal lives (read: have jobs/careers/families to care for, etc) is that university is such a bubble. The life you live when you’re at university is so far away from what ‘real life’ actually is.

Of course, moving out and living on your own can teach you some important lessons that will be valuable when you enter ‘real life’, but at university you’re surrounded by people of a similar age and everyone is in the same boat. When everyone behaves and acts the same, or in a very similar manner, it is very hard to see that this isn’t actually the norm. That’s what university is. It’s a total bubble and I for one got so caught up in it for three years that I almost couldn’t imagine life outside of it.

So when I left, the bubble burst pretty hard and it’s hit me that the life I’ve made for myself over the course of my degree isn’t really fit for purpose, or something I can continue now I’m no longer in that space.

I now need to build new routines and new attitudes and basically have to construct the structure of my life once again, from scratch. I’m finding this pretty difficult at the moment, if I’m being totally honest, as I get very rooted in my routines and find them very hard to break. But I’m hoping that now I’ve addressed the issue (mourning my past life as a student and learning that what I experienced in this time wasn’t ‘real life’) I can start to move forward and get back on track.

IT CONTINUES

Even though I no longer have any deadlines or commitments, I can’t seem to shake the horrible feeling that I have something to do that’s constantly hanging over my head. Of course I have hobbies and little projects (like this blog!) that I want to get on with, but those are things I want to do for fun for now and have no real deadline or consequence.

The feeling of having something to do is something that all students will recognise and is something that we’ve had over us for years and years. No wonder I’m having a difficult time adjusting to the fact I literally have nothing to do anymore! But I just wish that it wasn’t getting in the way of things right now.

It seems that all of the stress, anxiety and just general worry that I’ve gotten so used to experiencing is still present, even though my lifestyle has totally changed! It’s kind of annoying, more than anything, as now is is the first time in what feels like forever that I can actually just chill out and take some time for myself, but I still feel guilty for doing so.

I know that, as with everything, it’s an adjustment period and things won’t always be like this. I just need to be patient and allow myself some time to get through it. I feel bad for being so unproductive, but I need to stop being so hard on myself. Major changes take time to adjust to and so I need to allow myself some time to do just that.

Nelson Mandela


So this was kind of a little update on where I’m at right now. Hopefully it may help some of you who are also in the same boat, or maybe it’ll allow you to prepare yourself for when the time comes for you. I am hoping to take some more time for blogging now that I’m free, but as always bare with me a little bit.

If you have any experience with finishing university (or any kind of education) and have some tips for me, please let me know! I’d love to hear your input. If you’re currently still studying, I wish you all luck with everything!

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials: (Relevant/University Posts)

Regaining Control: How To Reach Your Goals

There’s been a lot of things going on recently in my life. From turning 21, to dealing with the last handful of university deadlines as well as the usual trying-to-keep-on-top-of-life stuff it’s safe to say that things have taken a toll a little bit.

Last week was a total write off. If you know me personally, you know this is something I say basically every week- but this time it was for real. I was poorly and generally lacked all motivation to get my shit together.

But over the past few days I’ve been reconsidering my goals and attempting to make new ones. I’m constantly working on transforming my mindset and becoming more positive, in order to be more productive. I am generally aiming to be a better and happier me.

So I thought I’d share some simple steps that I am taking to help you and I reach our goals and how to get back on track when things have slowed down:

  • Make your to-do list the night before

Literally write every single thing down that you need to get done, either for the next day or for the following week. I’m talking the obvious stuff, like assignments and work bits, but also things like chores, calling your parents, doing a face mask, making dinner and so on. Although the list may look a little intimidating at first, once you start doing the basic stuff and ticking off your progress you’re going to feel more motivated to tackle the bigger things.

Plus, by writing things down and getting them out of your head means you’re going to have more room in there, which will come in handy when dealing with said tasks!

  • Figure out why 

Why is it you want to do all of these things? Why do you feel like you’ve lost control? Take some time to either write it down or talk about the reasons why you suddenly want to change your routine, work harder, exercise or whatever it is your planning on doing.

By figuring out the ultimate motive behind your work (to feel accomplished, to feel better) you’re going to find it easier to actually do the thing. Working out what you want and more specifically why you want it, gives you something to turn to when you’re needing inspiration or motivation. It should get your excited about your progress and make you feel like you’re doing the right thing. If it doesn’t, then maybe you should reconsider your goals.

  • Start early

It’s a new week, which means a new start. So why don’t you start now? But don’t use the fact you’ve missed the beginning of the week to let the rest go to waste. You can literally make changes whenever you want, but I’d suggest starting early to give yourself a head-start.

I know that not everyone is a morning person, and that’s totally cool (you do you) so you don’t have to take this literally. Early here doesn’t have to mean early in the morning, but rather as early as possible in your own routine. Instead of wasting time procrastinating or thinking about all of the things you need to do, just force yourself to get on with it as soon as possible. It’ll make the world of difference and once you’ve started you’ll realise it’s easier to just keep going!

  • Get inspired

Without comparing yourself, look to other people to see how they’re getting on and use it to fuel your own work. I have some links in the end of this post that have helped me but try to use other people’s advice, stories and experiences to push you to make the most of yours. Look for inspirational quotes, YouTube videos on how-to or even look to your friends and see how they do it.

You’ll notice everyone has their own struggles and everyone is just trying to get on with things the best they can.

  • Break it up

Like I mentioned previously, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you have a huge list of things to do. If you break everything up into manageable chunks, it’ll not only make the task easier to start but also easier to finish as  your progress will be clearer to see this way.

For example, if you have an essay to write instead of just writing down ‘do essay’ break it up into separate tasks. So that could be ‘get books from library’, ‘research this area on the internet’, ‘write introduction’ and so on. Once you start ticking off tasks and getting somewhere with your goal, you’re more likely to feel motivated to get it done. Or you’ll at least feel pleased with your progress which will encourage you with other tasks.

  • Do it your own way

It’s all well and good me offering you advice on how to reach your goals and complete that to-do list, but I know that what works for me mightn’t work for you. We’re all different and we all have our own way of doing things. And while I do think the advice in this post may help (or at least encourage you), you may need to tailor things to suit your circumstances.

A simple example of this is to-do lists. I have to admit, I am someone that can appreciate a to do list. But I prefer to keep my simple, handwritten and often on a post-it that can be thrown away when everything is done. Some people like to make theirs online, in bullet journals, on their phone or some people don’t like to make them at all and can keep track of everything in their head (if this is you, I totally salute you!).

What I’m trying to say is you know yourself best, and although it can sometimes feel like you’re not doing things right because your progress doesn’t look like anyone else’s, you should make something that works for you. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else and make sure you’re doing the best for you to reach your goals.


Materials:


 

If you have something to say to can tweet me, comment below or contact me.

You can follow me on bloglovin’ or Instagram if you fancy.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

Staying Motivated This Festive Season: A Pep Talk

Are you guys looking forward to Christmas? It feels like everyone is getting more and more festive every day, yet I’m still struggling to accept that it’s December already! Already I think it’s lovely that people are getting all excited about Christmas and all that jazz, I am more than aware that not everyone can relate.

I’m currently posting lots about this on here so stay tuned for more advicey things coming (and see my previous post here) but today I wanted to give us all a little pep talk. With two weeks to the day ’til Christmas I know a lot of people are struggling and stressing right now. Life doesn’t suddenly stop because it’s Christmas. Most of us still have deadlines, work and other commitments that we need to spend our time on before we can even think about what’s coming at the end of the month.

It can be really hard to keep focused though, when there’s so much excitement going on around you. I’m guessing my fellow students can’t wait until the end of the semester when they can return home and get some well deserved TLC. But right now are surrounded by deadlines and revision that just won’t budge.

You’ve got this. No matter who you are, or what you’re working on right now, you’ve got this. Let’s use the fact that this month is a bit mental and soon we’ll be surrounded by love ones and eating all the chocolate to push ourselves through this waiting period. As I said, life doesn’t take a break when Christmas arrives. But if we work hard now and push, push, push we can spend the rest of this festive season relaxing.

The new year is a fresh start and wouldn’t it be amazing if we could go into it stress-free? No outstanding deadlines, no work piled up. We could go into 2017 positive, well-rested and just generally hopeful. Because, God knows we need it after the year we’ve had!

This is probably a silly, cheesy post that won’t help anyone but I know that it’s nice to hear things like this every now and again. You’re not the only one and if we all do it together, it’ll be easier. Let’s try not to get too overwhelmed with the festivities and instead use them to push us forwards.

Stick on that Christmas playlist, arm yourself with Quality Streets and get that shit done.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Cool Things I Did In November (Alternatively Titled: How To Escape)

I know I said this in my last monthly post (read here) but it’s just been another weird month. I think with the end of the year approaching, workload picking up and the general state of the world (*cough* Trump) it’s understandable that a lot of us are feeling a bit shit right now.

I’m, personally, really looking forward to the end of the semester and the end of the year. Although I hate New Years and January, I feel like we all need a chance to let off some steam over the Christmas and start afresh.

Although this month has been a bit poop and I’m still feeling weird about a lot of things (2016, man) I did some really cool things throughout November. These things, I noticed, helped me escape whatever was going on around me and although I want to share with you the events, because they really were cool, I also want to talk about escaping and looking after yourself too.

  • Bastille Concert

On Remeberence Sunday me and my brother went to see Bastille in Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena and they were phenomenal. Seriously. Bastille are a band that seem to always be there when I’m going through a weird or difficult time and I was so happy to find that my love for them hasn’t disappeared over the years.

The arena was bouncing and the guys were amazing. I’d totally recommend you guys give Bastille a listen, especially if you’re struggling to cope with what’s happening on the news right now. They sing about now and the struggles we’re all facing. Wild World is such a relatable album and sums up all our feelings on this year, basically.

Stand Out Tracks You Need To Hear: Fake It, The Currents, Warmth, Snakes .

  • Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a new love in my life. It’s something I’d seen in the past but didn’t really get. But now for some reason it’s become a great love of mine. In my university flat, there’s nothing we enjoy doing more than watching a version of this weird and wacky show together. And luckily we had a chance to see it this month!

It was hilarious, as expected, and brilliantly performed. It was basically a wonderful excuse to get dressed up and giggle like a schoolkid about sex. And there was something so wonderful going to see it so close to the shocking news in America as Rocky Horror is basically a celebration of all genders, sexualities and, well, species. Ha! It was the perfect escape and just a chance for us all to laugh about silly things.

If you haven’t seen Rocky Horror or have and just don’t get it, then I’d highly recommend you watch the BBC America’s 40th Anniversary Special (you can find it on YouTube). Seeing it live is a totally different experience and I’m sure you’ll love it.

  • Durham

This month I went home for a week which was so lovely. I’ve been feeling really homesick this semester, which is unusual for me, so it was so nice being back home and getting some TLC from my family.

While I was at home, me and my mam took a little day trip to Durham as, despite how close it is to where we live, we had never done that together. It was such a lovely day (as you can see in the pictures) and it was nice exploring somewhere new with my mam, who I don’t get to see much when I’m at university.

Going somewhere new and exploring was such a nice boost and made me feel like a completely different person. I know it did me and my mam the world of good being out of the house and having a little walk around. You don’t have to go far, but dedicate a day to explore and be outside. It’ll make you feel so much better, I promise.

So that was my November. This is kind of a different post for me and I’d love to hear your feedback on it! How was your month?

Speak soon,

Rachael.

It’s Difficult #3: The Response

(This is a follow up post. You can read the other parts here and here to get the gist of the story)

As with most things in my life, I like to ask for other people’s opinions. This is either to prove to myself that I’m not alone or just because I’m a curious person and I like to hear what people have to say.

So for this whole topic of the internet, social media and the way we use it I turned to two of the most popular platforms to see what people had to say.

Twitter

For the first time I used the Twitter Poll thing (it was a revelation, let me tell you!) and I was fairly surprised by the responses.

Twitter Poll.png

As you can see a majority of people said they would be able to go without the internet, then the next large group was not sure. I honestly believed more people would say no but I do think that my use of the word ‘addicted’ might have thrown some people of voting that way. No one wants to think they have a problem, do they?

But still, there’s a surprisingly high number of people claiming they would be able to do it.

Facebook

Facebook was pretty much the same story, with a whooping 80% of all the responses I got were from people claiming they could do it. Many even had some experience in being internet free:

facebook-yes-response-2facebook-yes-response-4facebook-yes-response-5

Other people claimed that although they enjoyed the internet, there were other things to do and therefore would be able to be without it for a day:

facebook-yes-response

(Side note: you are not sad if you like to read)

Some were pretty honest about the whole thing:

facebook-yes-response-3

I feel like this is the one most of us can relate to. We’d all probably be able to get through a full day, but as I said in my previous post why shouldn’t we use the tools if we have them?

There was a response that reminded us of our forgotten, old fashioned values:

Facebook Yes Response 6 Old.jpg

Then there were the nos. I have picked two that explained themselves the best, but to be honest there wasn’t many ‘no’ results to pick from. The majority, surprisingly, were pretty confident in their ability to go internet free.

This response demonstrates how important the internet has become to us and is something I’m sure many can understand:

 

facebook-no

(Note her use of an emoji to show how weird it is that the internet is such an ever present force in our lives. It’s kind of odd when you properly think about it)

As for my final response I’m going to share with you, it once again shows how vital the internet is to our lives (it keeps us connected, it helps us)  and what it can be like when you no longer have it:

facebook-no-2

She seems pretty traumatised by the whole thing, bless her.

Conclusion

So the majority of people asked did think they could go 24 hours without the internet. Those who had previously, claimed that it was because they were busy, around friends or exploring another area meaning they didn’t miss or require the internet. Which makes sense, of course.

But on a day to day basis I feel like the internet is a vital tool and one that would be quite hard to go without now we’ve gotten so used to it. Although there are other outlets for communication, education and entertainment the internet offers us all of these and is always available.

Although we may rely on it too much, the internet is an integral tool in our modern lives and I feel like we should all make more of an effort to take a break but overall let’s get rid of the guilt we have when it comes to being online a lot.

Star

This post is a part of a university assignment I was set. This is the final one of a three part post regarding the internet, social media and other people’s views. Normal service will continue on this blog throughout these posts. Cheers for you patience and stick around for regular posts.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

It’s Difficult #2: Seeing The Problem

(This is a follow up post. You can read the first part here to get the gist of the story)

I didn’t think I had a problem. Although it was something that had crossed my mind in the past, I had always dismissed it as I wasn’t one of those people.

I do use the internet a lot within my daily life and since coming to university it has been my main source of entertainment as well as helping me with my course. I was aware of how much I used it, but I’d always assumed that I’d be able to get along okay if I didn’t have it.

Yet now I was struggling to even make it a couple of hours without going online. And I wasn’t the only one.

From checking social media when we first wake up to watching YouTube instead of TV, social media and being online has become an integral part of our daily routines. Especially for those of us who grew up with the internet and have gotten so used to it being around.

Not only is it a routine, but it’s become a habit too.

How many times do you check your phone without even knowing what you’re looking for? If you’re anything like me it’s a constant thing.

Now, contrary to the title, I don’t want to get all negative on this topic. The internet (and social media of course) is a brilliant thing. You wouldn’t even be able to read this if we didn’t have it.

But it’s the way it influences our lives that can be a bit worrying and this whole challenge has shown me that. Even though I had thought about it in the past, my failure here has proven that I do probably rely too much on the internet and that I might benefit from putting my phone down and doing something else, every now and again, instead.

Which is a pretty obvious thing to discover, I’m aware.

As I said though, I don’t want to be negative about the whole thing. (I feel like the internet gets enough grief as it is, the poor thing). This challenge did show me how the internet benefits my life, in both a social and educational sense. And although I may rely on it too much, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

I mean, why shouldn’t we use this fabulous tool if we have access to it?

And I think that’s the best way to view it. The internet is a tool that benefits us and although conversations like this, regarding our use and reliance on it, are important to have because problems will still arise, I don’t think we should get too caught up in the fear that comes with it.

(Read the third part here)

Star

This post is a part of a university assignment I was set. It will be a three part post regarding the internet, social media and other people’s views. Normal service will continue on this blog throughout these posts. Cheers for you patience and stick around for regular posts.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

It’s Difficult: Going 24 Hours Without The Internet

Being set the challenge of going 24 hours without the internet doesn’t sound like a big deal, if you say it quickly. The idea of going one day without checking your Facebook or scrolling through Instagram sounds pretty easy. It even sounds kind of liberating, don’t you think?

I certainly did anyway. In fact prior to the day of the challenge I was feeling pretty excited. With claims of “it’s only a day, really” (more to convince myself than anyone else, I’ve later realised) I turned all my devices onto aeroplane mode and began to plan how I would spent my full free day.

Maybe I’d finally start reading that book that’s been lying on my shelf for God knows how long or maybe I’d take a walk to the beach and check it out. That’s something I’ve been dying to do for ages.

But I didn’t get chance to do either of those things.

Within two hours on the day of the challenge I had crumbled. Despite trying to not be connected I couldn’t escape the notifications, emails and app updates that were blowing up my phone and I had to check them out.

It seemed that on the one day I didn’t want to use my phone, I suddenly became popular. But I don’t really have anyone to blame here.

I had failed my challenge within only two hours. That’s like the time it would take to watch one movie, or two episodes of the latest hit on Netflix. That’s nothing and I was so annoyed.

I was also ashamed and embarrassed that I couldn’t even go a couple of hours without being drawn to the online world. I honestly thought it didn’t mean that much to me and that this challenge would have been something I could have flown through.

Wait, I am addicted to the internet?

(Read the second part here)

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This post is a part of a university assignment I was set. It will be a three part post regarding the internet, social media and other people’s views. Normal service will continue on this blog throughout these posts. Cheers for you patience and stick around for regular posts.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

 

Calling All Freshers: Freshers’ Week Essentials

Many of you will no doubt be heading off to university very soon (or you may even be there now, you lucky thing!) and as you’re probably aware Freshers’ Week is one of the most important dates on your academic calendar. Especially in your first year. It’s your chance to settle into your new home, make new friends and overall just have a good time.

However, it can be a tricky time for you so I’m here today to list the absolute essentials I think you need to make your Freshers’ Week a wonderful yet safe and comfortable time for you.

Please note, I will be appealing more to the ‘typical’ Fresher in this post. The kind who is looking forward to the clubs, events and drinking. But I want you to know that if this is not your cup of tea you can still have a brilliant time. You do what works best for you and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for that.

THE ESSENTIALS

  • A Medical/First-Aid Kit

You can make one of these yourself before you go away. Freshers’ Week is a fun but messy time so I’d recommend you take plenty of painkillers (paracetamol, ibuprofen), plasters and cold relief medicine (because Freshers’ Flu is totally real. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise). Better to be safe than sorry.

  • Warm, Comfortable Clothes

Like jogging bottoms, hoodies and sweatshirts. You’re probably going to be hungover a lot of the time this week so these are essential for when you have to get ready, but really want to stay in your PJs.

  • A Door-Stop

While you’re getting ready for the latest event or you’re just chilling in your room trying to recover, leaving your door open will show your new flatmates that you’re in and welcome to be interrupted. It’s a great way to try to bond with these new people who you’re going to see everyday for the next year.

 

  • A Pack of Cards

There’s going to be an awful amount of pre-drinking this week (if you want to) and although it is best to be sensible and drink in moderation, playing drinking games is a hilarious way to bond with your new flatmates. Playing cards can be used for various different games and having these will make sure you’re not just sat there in silence.

  • Junk/Easy Food

Again, thinking about your hungover days you’re going to want something that doesn’t require a lot of movement but will fill you up. Lots of carbohydrates is my personal recommendation. It’s better to have something in just in case you’re not up for visiting the local takeaway.

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I hope you all have a brilliant, and safe, Freshers’ Week and a wonderful year at university!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Calling All Freshers: Second Year Experience

Okay, so the title of this ‘series’ doesn’t really go with this topic as when you’re in Freshers (that’s the first year of university) you couldn’t care less about what’s coming next. Still nonetheless I know hearing about other people’s experiences helped me get prepared and generally just calm my nerves about what was to come and I’m hoping it will do the same for you.

IT GETS HARDER

This is obvious but second year is pretty difficult compared to the first. For many courses this is the year when your grades really count and contribute to something. First year, at many universities, counts for 0% (or a similar small amount) of your final grade so there’s no pressure to do anything other than pass. However your grades in second year do count so there is that pressure to do well, to ensure that your happy with the final result.

As well as this, the work becomes more difficult and you will probably find that you have more deadlines- normally all at once!- than last year as well. For me, I also had exams this year which was a totally new experience as my first year was assignments only. It can feel overwhelming at times but remember that everyone is in the same boat and as long as you organise your time (tips will come soon) you will get everything done, I promise!

IT IS EASIER

So the work isn’t easier but everything else is. Because you’ve spent your first year learning all about your new campus, the basics of your course, your flatmates and accommodation- basically everything outside of the work- you go into this year feeling a lot more comfortable and confident about these areas. Which is a wonderful thing and means you can really knuckle down with your work and the more ‘important’* bits as you’ve got to grips with the rest.

*I personally think that all areas of university, the academic side and the rest, are equally important and it really helps shape who you are and all that. But you know what I mean. 

IT’S MORE FUN

As explained above, all your hard work in first year getting used to your surroundings really pays off in second year. Now you’re (hopefully) used to your new city and have a nice group of friends you can just go out and enjoy yourself without worrying about where to go or what to do. By know you’ll have figured out what you like to do best with whoever suits the event the most and that means you can just go for it! You know what clubs hold the best events, where the best shops are and who offers the nicest food and you can just go for it without issue. (As you can tell those are my favourite things to do but everyone is different and I’m sure you’ll find things you love wherever you are).

However, it can be very easy to get stuck into a routine and therefore miss out on all the other fun things happening outside your comfort zones. I know that is something me and my friends struggled with this year. Even though you may feel as though you have learned all there is to know about your new surroundings, take some time to look further because I can guarantee you’ll find something even better you may have just missed last year.

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I wish you all the best of luck as you head into whatever year you’re going into. I am so proud of you for getting this far and I hope you have the best time!

If you have any tips for our second years or any tales of your own experience please get in touch and let me know!

Speak soon,

Rachael.