By Rebecca Spencer – Comment Editor
Struggling with the dreaded ‘travel bug’ at university? Read this article on tips to lessen the need to take flight.
Have you ever gone to a project X style party, had the best night ever and then had to wake up to a 9 am shift at work? Well, for some people that’s how going to university after a year of travelling feels, times one hundred.
A lot of people go on a gap year and never come back because they just do not want to leave the party. But for some, getting a degree is an important step in their journey, and they return home determined to achieve their goals.
But, after the adventures, twists and turns, and constant moving that travelling involves, sitting in your dorm room alone can seem a little daunting, and you may take longer to adjust than others.
So, I have a few tips and tricks to help you with your new uni-lifestyle. Whether you are in your first year or last year the wanderlust bug can bite you on the bum at any time, so take note…
Finding ‘your’ people
When traveling from hostel to hostel you can become accustomed to the overtly friendly environment. The general pattern is that people who go travelling are fairly confident and sociable. This is because they chose to leave their homes and embark on a spontaneous adventure in the first place.
University feels different. People with different personalities are mixed together and assigned to dorms randomly.
Chances are, you may feel like you have less in common with your new uni acquaintances than you did with every stranger in a hostel after 2 days of chatting. Many of whom probably became new life-long friends spread out across the world.
It is important to remember that if you have not hit it off with the people in your accommodation there is still hope!
Throughout the course of university there are literally thousands of opportunities to meet new people. You may make best-friends on the first day or in the third year or maybe even after university at a new job.
The point is, try not to feel doomed if you don’t feel like you’ve found ‘your’ people yet, always stay open to opportunities!
Wanting to jump on a plane
Feeling like you want to run away to Fiji is natural. People who have never even been travelling consider ditching the stress of assignments and jumping on a plane… so the temptation for someone who has will be even stronger!
The wanderlust bug tends to creep back in just when you really need ALL your attention to be on your three thousand word essay, not on google images of Jamaica.
Try to utilize the wanderlust as a goal for the future. Once you have completed your degree you can go wherever you want and explore till your heart’s content.
Even though sometimes your degree can feel never-ending, it is only a few years (for most). We have our whole lives to travel.
Feeling lonely or suffocated
After bunking in rooms of eight people for months on end, sometimes your dorm room can feel a bit lonely. So it is important to keep yourself busy just like you did when you were travelling.
Join a society or two, sit in the common area of your accommodation and participate in extracurricular activities set-up by your school of study.
Do not worry, you won’t seem like a ‘try-hard,’ you are just doing the things you enjoy… meeting new people and keeping on the move!
Being an active member within the university really pays off so try your best to get involved. Trust me, after three days of endless Netflix you may start to feel a little depressed and isolated.
Equally, if you were a solo traveller you probably had a lot of your own head space, you could leave a place behind when you wanted and make your own decisions. Living on a permanent basis with a new group of people may feel a little intense sometimes. Which is why it is great to join a sports society or any kind of hobby to be surrounded by new faces.
Travelling before joining university is an amazing experience and chance to grow as a person, to become more open-minded, confident and friendly, which are all valuable attributes for thriving at university!
Of course, after any epic adventure we all get holiday-blues, and travel-blues are definitely the intensified version. But It is important not to let it overwhelm you and take away from your studies, as getting a degree was probably the reason why you came back in the first place!
Embrace the values you have gained from your gap year and start your term off with a fresh, optimistic mindset.
Image credit: Rebecca Spencer