It’s often hard to keep an equal balance between all the different aspects of university life, and relationships are often difficult to maintain when focusing on personal health and academic success. Although I can’t guarantee that this advice is 100% effective for everyone, I found these actions helpful in my first term at uni and thought it would be useful for those who may be struggling with different relationships.
Maintaining Relationships with Your Family:
- If you miss them: CALL THEM
If you miss your family, remember that we live in the 21st century and if you want to talk to someone, they’re most likely one tap away. Even if you don’t have anything interesting to talk about. Often just hearing their voice and knowing that they are there is comforting. When I’m having a bad day or I’m feeling a little home sick, one phone call to my mum makes me feel so much better, even if she just tells me what the pets are up to or that she went for coffee with her yoga friends, just talking on the phone really helps.
- Let them know about your successes
Have you done something pretty impressive? Tell your family. Just got a good grade on an assignment? Your sports team just won a match? Just performed in your first student production? Tell them about it! Even if it’s just a little victory, just cleaned your bathroom? Just cooked a really good meal from scratch? Tell them about it!
Maintaining Relationships with Your Friends
- Make plans for when you are home
It is very likely that you’re all going home for the holidays, so plan to meet up. This doesn’t have to be anything crazy, it could be something small like going for a coffee or just grabbing a takeaway. For me, every holiday all my friends meet at spoons to drink and catch up, (we just had the event ‘Spoons V: The Nightmare Before Christmas). Just this one event is something everyone looks forward to and it is a fairly easy way to see a lot of your friends at once. For the Easter holidays I’ve already organised a day for my girl friends to come to my house and watch films, discussed going for a coffee with one of my best friends and ‘Spoons VI’ is currently in its first stages of planning!
- Send postcards and letters
This might seem old fashioned when you could just easily text them or Facebook message them, but that’s too easy. Sending a postcard shows them that you still care as you’re going out of your way to make that little bit more of an effort. You could write an essay relaying your last few months. What you’ve seen. What you’ve done. (Who you’ve done). A long letter is appreciated but you could just say something as simple as ‘Love you, Miss you’. Just the spectacle of receiving a card is appreciated. Also, another benefit of sending a card is that it can also double up as a nice decoration for your room.
Maintaining Your Relationship with Your Significant Other
- Be prepared to make some effort
Yes, university can be a lot of work and travelling and going on dates can be expensive, but there are ways to take the stress away from this while still putting in the effort. When it comes to travel make sure, if your other doesn’t go to university with you, to either alternate who travels to who or even meet somewhere half way. Luckily for me, my other half only lives just over an hour away on the train so seeing each other is fairly easy for us both to travel to each other. For those of you whose other half lives much further away, to the extent that visiting each other is much harder, make sure to plan for when you are seeing each other again so you have something for you both to look forward to. Planning things to do with your other half can be stressful, especially when it comes to prices. However, specifically around QMUL, there are many easy options. Victoria park is only a ten-minute walk along Regents Canal and is a short escape from the city life. Genesis cinema, which is along Mile End road shows most of the top-rated films and offers generous student discounts. There are many coffee shops around, while there are the typical chains such as Starbucks and Costa, there are also independent coffee shops within walking distance such as the ‘The Coffee Room’ and ‘The International Comrades Coffee Shop’. Both of which have a relaxed atmosphere and personal touch to them (and most importantly good coffee).
- Don’t prioritise your other half over everything else.
Don’t choose to prioritise seeing your other half instead of writing that oh-so-important essay. Don’t spend money you’ll need for your weekly food shop on going on an extravagant insta-worthy date. If you continuously do this, you might find yourself beginning to resent your other half and find yourself blaming them for your own failure to time manage effectively. Comparatively, you could find yourself relying on your other half too much, which is inconvenient when university is a time to find your own groove and learn how to live independently.