So you’re moving to London to start university, you’ve made a great choice! London is the best city to go to university in in the UK. Why? Because we have everything bigger and better than the rest of the country. Ok, I’m being a little biased and big headed. But going to university in London is a lot different to going anywhere else in the country. Not necessarily in a bad way, but there’s something about London that makes it really weird to go to university in.
First of all, unlike any other large sized town or city, the university isn’t the only thing going for it. Mostly because we have about 40 different universities in one city. Hardly any of them are campus based. Meaning your whole uni life can be spread across the city. And unlike places like Sheffield or Warwick, people don’t just go to London for uni. People travel to London from all over the world for tourism, to work, to live, and they don’t immediately think: “university”. Time and time again I have heard Northern family members say: “Why didn’t you go to Manchester to study? Manchester is a student city.” What does that mean, “student city”? Because to me that means there’s nothing else to do except study.
That’s why in my first year I didn’t feel like London offered the real student experience, whatever that is. Whenever I spoke to my friends from school in the holidays who went to other places in the country to study, they always asked: “What is London like?” But I really wondered what it was like to not study there. (They have this thing called “carnage”. What the hell is that?) To me, their uni experience sounded like living in a tiny village. Everyone you met was a student and when you went to the shops, everyone was a student. The only people you met in clubs were other students and when you met a local, they hated you because you were a student. And during uni holidays, the place was like a ghost town. You were stuck having to live on rubbish food from chain restaurants like Nandos and drinking bad filter coffee from the student union because no one had heard of a ‘skinny latte’, let alone been into a Starbucks. Yeah ok, point made. But that’s what I first worried about when I was a fresher in London. I worried I wasn’t getting the “real deal”. Maybe I didn’t, but I think I got better.
Here’s some of my tips on how to make the most out of freshers in London, so you don’t feel too left out…..
I’m not sure this apple will make my reading go any quicker… maybe I need some chocolate instead.
University is a great time of your life, but with such a limited budget and time away from your degree to spare, it might also mean that you end up forgetting healthy eating and exercise.
In my first year of university I didn’t really care about either. I was just focused on grades/having a social life. (And I guess with a blog mostly about eating cake and burgers, I’m not exactly that bothered now!) I am of the mindset that as long as you are happy with your body and you feel healthy, then you are absolutely fine and don’t need to change a thing. However, it’s not just about the outside, but also about how you feel psychologically. Nowadays many students suffer from depression and other mental health disorders at some point in their academic career (about 1 in 4 UK adults are diagnosed with a mental health issue in any one year), and that number is increased when living with the day to day pressures of a big city like London. Thus, making a few adjustments to your lifestyle may make you feel a lot better. Here’s some of my tips on how to stay healthy/happy whilst at university:
Image from Cathy’s Life
For many, me included, the Christmas holidays couldn’t have come sooner. I really needed that break from the hectic end of term lifestyle which had essay deadlines looming, endless seminars I hadn’t prepared for in which I got eye ache from looking at my notebook with such thoughtful intensity every time the lecturer asked a question, and not to forget the spaghetti with tomato sauce diet I’d kept quite strictly to. It was nice to come home and to eat whatever I fancied because the supermarket doesn’t seem too much of an effort when you’re not the one going there. Oh and not to forget the luxury items my parent’s seem to be able to afford, like cheddar cheese for example. Who could have imagined cheese would be so expensive when they got to university?
But even though I love varied diets, central heating and hot water that actually comes on regularly, I still really miss London during these holidays. Especially because my hometown residence is a small-town in the middle of nowhere where it’s not unusual to be stuck behind a tractor when in traffic. If you too are feeling the Holiday-Away-From-London-Blues (there must be a catchier way to say that!) I have thought of a couple of tips to keep you occupied.
Image from eco stiletto
Definition: (according to Urban Dictionary):
An awful illness that prevents freshers… from attending lectures in the first term.
Causes: Too much drinking and too many late nights being crammed together with people from all over the country at events like the fresher’s ball that have always been booked in a tiny venue with limited space.
You’re also rarely sleeping. During the day you’re out socialising and trying out different clubs and societies and during the night, you’re out until 3am drinking and clubbing.
You haven’t touched a piece of fresh fruit in about a week, and you might have even had too many greasy take-outs that seemed like a good idea when you were peckish at 1am.
Symptoms: physical exhaustion. Your feet hurt, your legs ache and you have bruises you can’t remember getting. Headaches, nausea and tiredness. You’ve developed a cough that makes you sound huskier than you’d like and not even in a ‘sexy’ way. Plus, you may even lose your voice entirely. This list is not exhaustive; you may also have all of the other gross symptoms of flu that I didn’t want to identify.
Sounds familiar? You have fresher’s flu!
It’s 10pm, you’ve just looked at your reading for tomorrow morning’s 10am lecture and it’s a huge list of books, articles and online journals that equate to more than 100 pages worth of reading. What do you do? You need to sleep, you’re tired and you just can’t be bothered! Or maybe you have tried, but cannot comprehend the writing and it’s getting really late.
As experts in procrastination and not getting all the reading done on time, we at Those London Students are here to help you out of this mess.