Student Survival: Homesickness


Many young students that have been heading off to university over the past few weeks will now be on the slippery slope of the Freshers Free Fall, the comedown back to reality of starting your new life after the week (or fortnight, if you’re lucky enough to go to a university like mine) of partying and having fun. For many people this is when the first bout of homesickness is likely to kick in. It’s important to remember that this is COMPLETELY NORMAL and by succumbing to it you are just the same as every else, no matter how well they may hide it.

The fact that you are on your own, looking after yourself and living (in most cases) with a bunch of complete strangers in a flat in a city that you don’t know can seem a bit daunting but luckily for you there are lots of things that you can do that might not cure the problem, but at least help it start to feel better.

Go exploring
If you have no idea where anything is in your new city is, besides the rather obvious things like clubs and the local Tesco then you will always be feeling like an outsider in this place that you have to live for the next three years. Get out there with some friends and take a wander around the city. Find the local museum, the beach, the best pubs that remind you a bit of your local back home and just have a wander about. If you feel like you know the city a bit better then it will seem a lot less daunting to trapped inside it for a great chunk of your life.

The endorphins released when you exercise will make you feel a lot happier about everything. Get down the gym or dust off your running shoes and kill two birds with one stone by taking a jog around the city, although I wouldn’t recommend doing this alone when it gets dark, thats like a gazelle covering itself in steak and prancing through a group of lions.

The best thing is that the calories you burn off with exercise can be used to scoff down an entire bar of chocolate in the evening, another excellent source of those cheery endorphins!

Go for coffee
Coffee, or more often than not, Tea solves everything. That said, people seem to be a little reluctant to go for a cup of tea with someone else when they don’t know them that we’ll so coffee seems like your less threatening option. Grab some friends off of your course or from your society or just the group of randoms you met down the pub the other night and get to know them properly without having to resort to bellowing like a possessed gibbon over the thrumming bass line of the infernal club music that usually plays during your social encounters.

Home cooked food
Call your mum up and get her to give you the recipe for your favourite home cooked meal and then make it for yourself. Good food can make anybody feel better!

Make friends
This might seem like a bit of a cop out as an answer for you, but seriously try to make a group of genuine friends. They can be from your flat, your course, the local library, a group you joined, anything! Just the fact hat you’ve got some friends around to talk to when you feel a bit down will make you feel instantly better and they can always help distract you from feeling so down!


Stop Doing That… Driving!

You may have noticed (some of you rather happily I will bet) that I haven’t written one of my little “self help” posts in a while. This is because I have, shock horror, not been overwhelmed With the burning rage and righteous anger that I feel about a topic to be able to tell people to stop doing it for a good long while. Well that brief time of bliss has rocketed off along the motorway of life and left me stranded in the lay-by of hatred. You may have guessed by the overuse of car related metaphors (or the title of this post, which is more likely) that today we will be looking at what you can not do whilst driving to prevent yourself from becoming number one on my Most Hated list.


STOP: Undertaking
Was it really SO important for you to get past me that you had to resort to being the biggest tool on the planet and swerve across a few lanes on this motorway to go past me in the left hand lane? Really? I’m going at the limit in the centre lane, the guy in the right hand lane is going a shade faster, so we’re all travelling at a legal limit and then in you zoom, Captain Douchebag, and swerve round all of us to continue on to whichever shopping centre you’re going to go buy a new polyester track suit from today. Prick.

STOP: Driving in the bike lane
The clue to this one is in the name. BIKE LANE. Not “Cruise along with half your car in here so cyclists fear for their life Lane”. You have a whole road and the cyclist only have this tiny piece on the left of it all. Stop harassing them and play nice.

STOP: Whistling from windows
I’ll level with you it is usually the stereotypic “Lads” that are the culprits here but nonetheless it makes my list. Guys, come on. That girl you’re whistling at and catcalling is pretty much NEVER going to sleep with you. Least of all if you have to shout out of a car to get her attention! Any girl that would hear someone wolf whistle from a car and think to herself “that man is going to be my one true love! I must sleep with him!” really needs to sort her priorities out…

STOP: Being slow
I’m not a preacher of speed, reckless or otherwise, but there is absolutely no reason to be going at 20 in a 40 zone.

STOP: Using phones
If you use your phone whilst driving, to me you are exactly the same level of despicable bastard irritating as you would be if you had drop kicked a baby into a yard filled with pitbulls and bear traps. You are the devil incarnate. If it is THAT important then pull over and use your phone. If not, wait until you get to where you are going and THEN use your phone. Don’t even get me started on texting. Just don’t do it whilst driving. I can barely walk and text at the same time without walking in to a pole or person, I can only imagine driving would make this twice as hard!

It’s not hard to not use a phone in the car. Alright?