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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Four Simple Ways To Get Your Shit Together

There’s nothing worse than feeling lost and stressed. The summer is basically over now and we’re all getting back into our normal routines; our workload’s are increasing and things are generally starting to pick up. In this time it is so easy to feel like things are getting on top of you and you’re starting to lose grasp.

I’m a worrier by nature so I feel like this quite often. Because of this, I’ve have come up with four simple things to do to make you feel like you’ve got your shit together and are once again ready to take on the world.

  • Clean Your Makeup Brushes

If you’re a makeup wearer then you’ll know the pain of washing your makeup brushes. I mean, maybe it’s just me being lazy but it’s a task I hate doing and will try to avoid it for as long as I can. But, dedicating even half an hour one evening to go through everything and clean is guaranteed to make you feel like you do indeed have your shit together and are winning at, well, life basically.

  • Self-Maintenance

Everyone can stop what they’re doing for a least a couple of hours on an evening and you should do. Take this time to run a hot bath or shower and pamper yourself. Shave your legs (if you fancy), wash and condition your hair, exfoliate, moisturise: do whatever it is in this time that makes you feel good because I promise you’ll feel amazing afterwards and all the more ready to keep going.

  • Do Some Exercise

Now I’m not encouraging you to take out an expensive gym membership and work out everyday. I mean, if you want to do that don’t let me stop you. But exercise doesn’t have to cost anything. Simply getting outside and going for a walk does wonders for both your physical and mental health. Put in some headphones and go for a wander and you’ll return feeling lighter and brighter.

  • Tidy Room, Tidy Mind

I can’t work if the area I’m in is messy and quite frankly I don’t understand how anyone can. Even if you’re not a neat freak, just do a quick whizz round of your room- put things back in drawers, make the bed. Having a clearer space with seriously help clear your mind and allow you to focus on what actually needs done.

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Keep calm and carry on my chums. I believe in you.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

 

Five Tips For Becoming More Body Positive

Body image is a topic that takes up a lot of my time. Not only, like every other person on the planet, is it something I have struggled with since my preteen days but it is also a something that interests me greatly as a subject. I understand how difficult it can be when you’re struggling with your body image. Whether it’s your weight, your skin, your this, your that- everyone is struggling with something and it’s not cool.

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You have a right to feel absolutely fantastic about yourself and I think you should feel amazing for being and looking like you. So, today I’m offering some simple but effective tips to help you on your self-love journey.

  • Look At Yourself

Don’t avoid your reflection and instead take a proper look at yourself. You don’t need to say or think anything regarding your body- the main thing is to just look and familiarise yourself with the wonderful, unique situation you have going on. Getting a grasp on what you actually look like, rather than the hideous caricature you think of in your head, is so healthy and will get easier with time.

  • Get (Semi) Naked

Similarly , spending private time naked (or semi-naked) can help you become accustomed to your body. Of course, getting naked isn’t something we can always do. I have recently been spending time at home roaming around in crop tops and shorts, which is fairly revealing. Just by doing this every so often, I have found myself enjoying seeing my own body and becoming increasingly more comfortable with it as the days go on.

  • Wear What You Want

This is such a simple statement but can be a difficult task. I want you to know that regardless of your size or shape, you can literally wear whatever style of clothes you want. If you really like the look of a trend or style, just try it. We all know that this whole ‘dress for you shape’ business is bollocks anyway so go on, I dare you just try it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to wear it again. Be brave, I dare you.

  • Use Social

Social media can be a dangerous place if you’re body-conscious, with perfected images being thrust at us from every angle. But the wonderful thing about it is everyone (well, everyone with a smartphone) can be seen. Although diversity still isn’t there in mainstream media, online so many different people are showing themselves and representing what they have. It can be a great place to recognise that everyone is unique and everyone is wonderful for that reason.

  • Be Inspired, Not Discouraged

Comparing yourself to other people is such a damaging habit and is certainly a hard one to break. But instead of comparing yourself to everyone you see, try to turn that into inspiration. You’re always going to see what other people have and what other people are going, but instead of being negative about it use that energy to be inspired and bring it back to you. You are your number one at this point, so treat yourself like it!

I hope you found this post useful or at the least an interesting read and I wish you all the best of luck on your body positive journeys!

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.

A Guide to Taking Notes at University

As we’re vastly approaching summer and the end of school years, I know there are many people both excited and anxious about heading to university in September.

As a second year student I’ve learnt a few things about how university works and how to make it work for you. One of the issues many people face is how to take notes and ensure that you are making the most out of your lectures.

I have tried various different ways to take notes over the past couple of years and today I’m going to lay out some of your options to help you get along.

Please note that these are the things I have tried and what works for me may not work for you. It’s a process and you’ll figure out what you’re comfortable with in time. That’s what your first year is for!

FOLDERS

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Using a refill pad for all lectures and then dividing the notes into separate folders later is a great way for those who can keep on top of their work and like to be super organised. You can even add in the lecture slides (which will normally be provided online by your lecturer) to add more to your revision.

SUBJECT BOOK

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Using a subject notebook with each section dedicated to a particular module ensures that all of your notes are in one place but gives you enough structure to easily navigate through. This one is pretty simple and one that I’ve noticed most people to use. If you want something easy but organised, I’d go for this.

SEPARATE NOTEBOOKS

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Using different notebooks for each subject can be useful for revision as you know exactly where your notes are and there is no fear of getting muddled. The only issue is you might be carrying a canny few notebooks around with you!

TIPS & TRICKS

  • Make sure you date all of your notes to help you sort out topics when it comes to revision or if you need to look back at a later date.
  • Title your notes with whatever the lecture is called. This will help you organise everything and make it easier if you need to find out more information.
  • If you can’t keep up with the lecturer or leave out a few vital details, make a note to check online after the lecture and make sure you do it!

As always, I hope this helped and if you have any tips or advice please let us know!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Five Things That Are Okay

I worry far too much about stupid little things and I know I’m not the only one. With everything else going on in our lives, we really don’t have time to be stressing about the things that don’t matter. So to calm us all down a little bit, I’ve created a list (yes, another one!) of five things that are okay:

  1. Trying something new and failing

No matter what happens, at least you tried. There is no way of knowing whether you’re good at something or really enjoy something unless you give it go first. But even if this isn’t the case, that’s fine. You can now move on and find something else you like even better!

  1. Listening to music on repeat

Although there are countless of brilliant artists out there, sometimes we become infatuated with someone so special, who speaks to us in a way no one else has before, we disregard any other form of music and focus entirely on them. And that’s fine- you’re just excited! Enjoy it, soak it up because it’s okay.

(Sidenote: It might not be okay with your friends if you’re forcing them to endure your obsession too. They mightn’t feel it as much as you do so just be considerate)

  1. Being on your own

Sometimes you just need a little breather; a little time out totally on your own. Other people are great but it can get tiring being around them all the time. Sometimes you just want to sit on your own and do the things you want. Whether that’s writing, listening to your choice of music, playing video games or just enjoying the silence. Regardless, alone time is so valuable and so important so don’t feel bad about wanting it.

  1. Not attending

It is encouraged to say ‘yes’ to any opportunity that comes your way. It’ll help you try new things, meet people, develop as a person, whatever. And that’s brilliant. But you can say yes too much. If you don’t want to go to a particular event or you don’t want to do something, you don’t have to. Regardless of what anyone else says you should do what you feel the most happy and comfortable with, and if that’s staying at home and saying “no”, go for it.

  1. Not being liked

Every single person is so different from the next that it would be impossible for us all to get on. There are just some people who we clash with in various ways and sometimes there isn’t any going back from that. This can be a hard thing to deal with when you’re the person who’s on the other end- the person who’s disliked. But the trick is to try to not take it to heart. You can’t be liked by everyone and not everyone is going to want to be your friend. Just accept it, move on and focus on those around you who love and like you for being you.

I hope this helps and I wish you all a wonderful, stress-free week!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Calling All Freshers: Money Saving Tips That Actually Work

As I said in my last university post I am hoping to do kind of a little series of advice and talks about my experiences from my first year that will hopefully help any of you who are also on your way to start soon.

Money is a big thing at university, as I’m sure you’re fully aware. Loans, grants, bursaries and scholarships; there is a lot of money going into your education and your time and it can feel a little scary sometimes. I’m sure that you’ve heard countless of times before the importance of budgeting and looking after your money throughout university as you don’t really have a lot. But if you balance everything properly and are sensible you will be surprised by how far your money can stretch. You won’t have to miss out on events and nights out and can still have enough money for text books, food and the occasional shopping spree if you’re clever.

So here are five little tips that are tried and tested by myself that should help make your money go further during your studies:

  1. Get a Job!

I’m aware how obnoxious this one sounds and I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it but it really does help. I also know how hard it is to get a job (trust me!) but if you can get one you might as well. The money comes in really handy. Depending on the type of place you work in you can often get hours to work around your life. Working throughout summer will provide you with some extra cash but also more free time once you go to university. Weekend work means you have less free time but you won’t have to worry about money. I am currently in an agreement with my workplace that allows me to work only when I come home for holidays and breaks. I’m aware that this is not an option for a lot of workplaces but you will be able to work around your hours regardless.

  1. Apply For Everything

When you apply to go to university you also (in most cases) have to apply for various kinds of loans to help pay for your course, your accommodation and overall just living costs. But as well as loans there are so many other ways you can receive money to help you out, some of which you will never have to pay back (currently anyway). The best thing to do is apply for everything early to ensure that you are able to get everything you need as well as saving yourself a lot of stress later on. Do your research when applying and look into your chosen university as many offer scholarships and bursaries that give you a certain amount of money. Similarly look into the benefits your university offers as you can also receive money for things such as your grades. Just do your research and apply for everything you find because at the end of the day, there’s nothing to lose.

  1. Save, Save, Save!

This one can go hand in hand with the other two points in this list so far as any wages you receive, any sums of money you get from scholarships or whatever put away in a separate savings account. Obviously make sure that you have enough to live on and to keep you going for however long you need it, but whatever you can put away you should. Because that means no matter what happens, if you suddenly run out of money or desperately need some extra cash, you have an extra support system. It’s nice to have just for peace of mind really but will also be really helpful when you come to the end of your course, as you will no longer have grants and things to help you out. But if you save you should have a sum of money to help you out whenever you need it.

  1. Shop Around & Discount

You might be a bit embarrassed now about shopping in places like Poundland or Aldi but trust me none of that matters once you start looking after your own money. These places are a life saver! In terms of food shopping, it really does pay to shop around the supermarkets and see what the best deal is. There is no point wasting a ridiculous amount of money on your weekly shop when you could have got it cheaper elsewhere. And stores like the pound shops are brilliant for any other bits you need, such as cleaning tools, toiletries, etc. It doesn’t matter about labels and things once you’re living on your own. All that counts is that you get what you need for the best price!

  1. Pre-drink!

This one is a fun but might not apply to everyone. Once you go to university there will be nights out and various events where alcohol and drinking are involved. Now if you don’t drink, this one doesn’t really work for you but that doesn’t really matter as you will be saving more money than the rest anyway! But if you do drink or think you will once you get there the best thing to do is to pre-drink at home first. Whether that means in your own flat with your flatmates or at a party at someone else’s place it doesn’t matter. Play some drinking games, put some music on and get yourself in the mood for a good night out. The more you drink at home the less you have to buy when you’re out. Most people I know choose to get to whatever level of tipsy they need at home and then don’t spend any money on drinks when they’re out!* Its good fun and a good way to save your cash as things can get pricey depending on where you go.

I hope this tips help and if you have advice for new or current students feel free to share and let us all know.

Once again good luck to any Freshers coming up to their first semester and congratulations!

Speak soon,

Rachael

*Okay now I have to say this but I am not encouraging unsafe or damaging behaviour such as binge or excessive drinking. You know your limits and the legal limits and shouldn’t go past this. Enjoy yourself but stay safe and make sure you stick together and look out for everyone in your group too.

Calling All Freshers: This Is What They Don’t Tell You On Open Day!

  1. You Will Hate Everything At Some Point

Your course, your flatmates, your university itself. Everything. But it’s okay. So much happens in such a short space of time that it takes a while for your mind to catch up. And as with all forms of change, normally, the default reaction is to hate it. But things will get better, you will settle in and you will discover that you made the right choice after all.

(If you are really struggling and are not enjoying your course at all you should speak to a tutor and they will advise you. It’s okay and surprisingly easy to change your mind. It’s your time and money after all.)

  1. It’s Still Kind of Like School

With this I mean, in terms of friendship groups and cliques it can feel like you’re still at school. The divide is no longer as clean cut as it once was but it is still definitely there. This is an obvious thing, as we are attracted to people with similar interests, views and styles as ourselves but it is bit disappointing once you get there. Nonetheless, you will mix with so many different people and everyone is willing to talk and make friends that this shouldn’t affect you so much. But just know that little groups will develop and it does sometimes feel as though nothing has changed.

  1. You Can’t Hide Anymore

This mainly refers to if you chose to live away from home and are spending all your time with a bunch of new people. Living in student accommodation or any form of shared accommodation can be amazing and so much fun as there is always someone around to talk to, go out with and just generally be around. This is a great opportunity to make some strong and genuine friendships, often pretty quickly! However, it does mean that when you’re having a bad day, the people you live with will notice. It’s hard to hide your feelings from the people who see and interact with you every day. If you’re like me and would rather hide the way you’re feeling, it can be hard when people suddenly notice and see you at your worst. But it’s okay. Your flatmates can be a great support system and being open about your feelings makes stronger and more reliable relationships.

  1. It’s Literally All Down To You

Okay so maybe this one you would have heard before but it’s honestly so true that I thought it would be worth mentioning. Regardless of whether you choose to move away from home or not, you still have to do things completely on your own. Making friends, making decisions; everything is down to you. Although you might have a fantastic support system of friends or family everything you do effects your future, not theirs, so it’s all on you. And if you chose to live away from home, you will feel the toll of this even more. Cooking, cleaning, shopping and budgeting. Everything is your responsibly now. And although this is exciting and definitely an important time in your life, it can be a bit daunting and draining sometimes. You will eventually fall into a routine and discover the best way to do things for yourself, I promise. Working together with your flatmates on some of the everyday tasks can be really helpful and again encourages you to get more used to one another.

  1. Things Are Going To Go Wrong

But that is how you will learn!

You might get completely lost on campus and cannot for the life of you find the class you need to be in, but once you find it you will never forget where it is again.

You might spend a ridiculous amount of money during Freshers’ Week (trust me, it’s so exciting seeing all that money in your bank) but this will teach you how to budget and manage the rest of your money amongst food, essentials and nights out.

You might dye all of your clothes pink the first time you do laundry, but this will teach you the importance of separating your clothes and the how to use the settings on the machines!

Whatever your situation is, you’re going to have to learn from it in order to stop it from happening again. And this is how you develop independence and just general life skills. Everything will work out in the end, I promise.

Good luck to any Freshers coming up to their first semester soon and congratulations on getting there! I hope you have a brilliant time and I am planning on making some more university posts so stick around for more advice and just general talks about my experiences so far.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Falling at the Second Hurdle: Motivation Tips From A Fellow Failure

As I said in my first, and currently my only other, post to this blog I have so many plans for what I want to do with this platform. But what I didn’t say was that I’m incredibly lazy and can so easily get stuck in a rut meaning that these plans would probably go to waste within five minutes. And they almost did. But finally, finally, I’m here today to say I’m on it again. I may have tripped over the second, very high and difficult, hurdle but I’m back up now and trying to get back on track (see what I did there?).

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this, “this” being maintaining motivation whether that be in your hobby, work or just general life, so I’ve took my struggles and tried to create something that can be helpful and overall just better than falling and feeling sorry for yourself.

So here are five little tips that I’ve found have helped me to keep going and what I use when I need motivation, just for you:

1. Music

Music is something that helps enhance any emotion you could possibly be feeling. Whenever I want to feel good, say if I’m getting ready for a night out, I turn to a cheesy, upbeat pop playlist. Likewise, if I feel like a good cry after a long day but it just won’t happen, I turn to the selection of songs that just hit me every time and afterwards I feel much clearer and calmer. So naturally, when I need a little motivational boost the easiest and simplest thing for me to do is turn to music. Anything upbeat, catchy with lyrics that I know and love can lift my spirits, making everything seem easier and helping me to push on through any block I have.

2. Other People

Whether it be an Instagram post of someone’s “busy morning”, success stories in a magazine or just listening to the people around me I’ve found that seeing other people being productive and simply just doing stuff, I feel more inclined and more wanting to do the same. I hate that moment when I’ll be talking to a friend, relative or colleague and they ask “so, what have you been up to?” and the only answer I have is a shrug. “Nothing, really” I’ll say. Although it doesn’t matter what people think of you and you should be free to spend your time how you want, I can’t help but feel a little embarrassed for myself in this situation and I want to avoid that as often as I can!

3. The Past

Similarly, when I look back at how I’ve spent my time throughout my life I often get a little bit… disappointed with myself. I have wasted so much time over my nineteen years on this earth and that normally hits me all at once. Often as I’m trying to sleep (thanks, brain!). Hindsight helps you see so much and with me that’s often the time I wasted on Youtube or just sitting still when I could have been writing, reading, socialising, exercising, working, learning a new language, juggling… The list seems endless when you’re looking back, but in that moment it seems like doing nothing is the only option. And that is okay, once in a while. But looking back on my wasted time encourages me to try my hardest to make the most of the time I have now.

4. The Future

As well as looking back, I also like to think about what is ahead of me. Like everyone, I have so many plans about what I want in order to achieve the ‘dream life’ but none of them are easy to come by. That thought alone is normally something that can make me want to hide back under my duvet, return to the perpetually angry thirteen year-old I still am inside and whine “what’s the point?!” But it can also have the opposite effect, if I’m able to flip my mindset. I don’t have time to waste when I think about it. There’s so many things I could be doing and working on in order to get to where I want to be in my career and overall just well-being that I always have something I can do that is more productive than watching reruns of Come Dine With Me (which you should still do by the way. In no way am I saying you should not watch Come Dine With Me, because you should. Just in moderation).

The Future also helps motivate me because as I said previously, looking back on all my wasted time is such a downer and I want to prevent that as much as I can. So by working and being productive now, I save future me the hassle of looking back and being upset. You see? Timey-whimey stuff you can do at home!

5. Pictures

…Of anything. Quotes, sunny beaches, parties, my friends and family. I’m really interested in photography and am obsessed with taking pictures of anything I can and looking back on the pictures I’ve taken myself of my friends and family, the fun and good stuff we’ve been up to helps remind me that no matter what I think I do have people out there that care about me, or at least have done in the past, and although I have spent a lot of time sitting still I have done so much and made so many memories. My phone background, something I see on a daily basis, is currently a collage of pictures of me and my nearest and dearest. I know this sounds completely random, like “wow, cheers Rachael for this amazing piece of information” but hear me out. I see this on a daily basis. That means a daily, hourly and on occasionally sad days, minute-by-minute, reminders of how lucky I am, how happy I am and have been, the people around me and the things I’ve done. So when I am feeling low or not motivated in the slightest, I look at my phone or the various images around me and feel lighter and better about my situation.

So there you have it, that’s some little tips from me to you. I hope this helps you, I know these come in handy for me a lot.

Good luck with whatever you’re working on!

Speak soon,

Rachael