Coming back to uni after having been home for a while can be tough. One night you’re sitting on your couch in front of a nice fire and watching a movie with your parents, and the next you’re suddenly all alone in a cold and dark flat. It’s disorienting. You can ask me any time if I ever regret my choice of studying in Edinburgh and moving 1000 km away from home and I’ll respond with a hard and sincere “no”. However, that first night back in my flat after being away for a few weeks, I might respond with “…A little bit?” I do love living in Edinburgh, however that doesn’t change the fact that living so far away from home is not easy, sticking to a healthy routine is not easy, being an adult (or trying to be) and taking care of oneself is not easy.
When I got back to my flat last week the first thing that happened (even before unpacking) was a panic attack. Suddenly I started freaking out about the fact that I was back in Edinburgh and I started questioning everything. For a moment, I was really scared that I had made the wrong decision to study here and leave my comfortable life in Belgium. So of course I called my mother, and she comforted me by telling me that she went through the exact same thing every time she would get back to her flat as a uni student. This made me realise that even if I had stayed in Belgium, I would still feel the same disorientation when leaving home and going back to the university lifestyle. It has nothing to do with the fact that I study in a different country, but has everything to do with the fact that going from holiday mode at home (where you are taken care of and don’t need to worry about money or food) to work/study mode at uni (where you have to take care of yourself and be responsible) is simply a transition, something that every uni student struggles with. So as this transition can be quite tough, especially at this time of year, I decided to make a list of things that you can do to make it go smoother.
- “Routines save lives” – said a scientist probably. SO GET INTO A ROUTINE. I’m serious, routines are very important to stay sane. Your day doesn’t have to be planned out by the hour, just have something to do every day which will make you want to get out of bed. So plan your week and have certain things you do every week (or day) at approximately the same time. Humans are creatures of habit. Most importantly: start a routine the first day you’re back, don’t wait for uni to start.
- Buy a 2017 planner/diary and plan ahead! Make plans that will make you look forward to the next few months or so. This is a new semester so make sure it becomes a good one! Plan to see a friend, travel to a near city, or take yourself out to a new restaurant. Most importantly, same as the routine: STICK TO IT.
- Concentrate on your uni work. This is why you’re here after all + it will help to take your mind of things when you’re feeling sad or homesick.
- Hang out with your friends. Don’t be afraid to message them first and just arrange a hang out: go for dinner, go to the cinema, catch up over a glass of wine in your flat. I meet up with one of my vegan friends here every other week and we go out for dinner and just catch up over delicious vegan food.
- Get out there! I know how easy it is to lock yourself up in your flat but do not do it. Get some fresh air (yes, even when it’s cold), read in a cafe instead of your bed, go to a museum, etc. Enjoy everything that your city has to offer.
- Don’t forget to stay healthy. Eat well and consistently. Make a weekly meal plan if it helps. Also, STAY ACTIVE. Unfortunately my ankle is injured which means I can’t dance, but that doesn’t stop me from going on walks, doing ab workouts, or yoga. To put it in Elle Woods’s words:
It took me a few days but I am finally comfortable in this routine again, and this list of things is what helped me. I’ve got quite a few things planned for the next couple of months and I’ve also realised that it would be possible for me to go home for a bit during my reading week mid February, which is something to look forward to as well. I’ve also got quite few books that I need to read this semester,so that will definitely keep me busy!
Hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and are slowly (but surely) readjusting to the student life!