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For those of us who are returning students this year, we’ve experienced this feeling before: arriving back in Lancaster fresh-faced, (usually) well-rested and ready to see friends. The summer months have dragged on and after watching younger family members returning to school and college a whole month before us, we reserve a tiny bit of jealousy that they were back seeing their friends sooner (albeit uniform-clad with no Sugarhouse to carefully balance the work-play ratio).
Arriving back to the small Lancastrian town that has been pretty much dormant for three months (ask any taxi driver in that first week back) can be the best feeling ever; meeting old friends and preparing to re-live Freshers’ Week. But we should be careful not to suddenly turn our lives around dramatically at this stage. There are a number of positive habits we’ve grown to accept during the summer that we shouldn’t simply drown away with a student loan-fuelled bottle of Smirnoff’s finest.
Over the twelve weeks of university exile, we undergo a subtle transformation from our tired, poor, drained selves that arrive home after Week Ten of Summer term with a shoddily-packed rucksack on your back and stolen Extrav’ decorations under your arm, needing bed, food and some good old homely TLC.
We slowly gain the energy to crawl off the sofa and find a summer job, or attempt to boost our CV with some charity or volunteer work. Gradually begin the days of getting up at times your alarm clock hasn’t seen since college; healthy breakfasts are eaten, you can drive a car again, and see family members and friends from home. We basically pick up where we left off at the end of the Easter holidays, and after the initial week-long recovery from Extrav’ Week, are ready to live our home lives again. Maybe you resume to walk your dog, go for casual jogs again, meet the lads for a game of football or the girls for a shopping trip? The Jekyll and Hyde dual-life theory soon becomes evident as you pick up habits from family members that have been neglected whilst at university (such as becoming re-acquainted with the dishwasher, or enjoying Sky+ in ways that we ponder how we ever did without them back in Lancaster).
By the end of summer then, it’s time to return to ‘that bubble on the hill’ that is our beloved campus, and after enjoying the different aspects of life more, they can easily be suppressed when we return. But this doesn’t have to always be the case! To quote Example, you’re “living two lives” and if you want to get the best out of both, try something new. Getting a job in Lancaster, finding a jogging route round campus or inviting friends to visit are just some ways. Maybe try (if you can) to get up early and seize the day like you may have done at home.
We all fall into the trap of spending too much money and becoming too tired in Freshers’ Week and it seems as if our university life has come back to conquer us, but remember this doesn’t have to always be the case.