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Of course, it isn’t all bad: no housemate Skyping their boyfriend and the whole house at two am; no mysterious ketchup bandit; best of all, the TV isn’t stuck on another episode of Cook For Me And I’ll Pick You. However, a ketchup bottle that doesn’t cheat on you is only fun for so long, and SCAN is here to help you remember that thousands of other Lancaster students are still out there and, one day, will return. Lone-wolfing Lancaster has never been easier.
- Exercise! Yes, I’m sure. Put your headphones in and run, the cheapest and most instantaneous way to get outside and take your mind off most other things. The canal in Lancaster is a great facility to utilise for a jogging route as it’s peaceful and a surprising escape from the city traffic that we all oh-so appreciate. If you live on campus, hopefully by now you’ll be aware of the Woodland Trail that circles the perimeter. We’re very lucky to have such a beautiful and expansive campus, so make the most of it and go and wave at the M6. If running isn’t your thing, walk these routes instead, or go check out the sports centre for classes, gym use and the pool. For a small city, there’s enough sporting opportunities to keep the need for small talk whilst buying milk at bay.
- Find out what’s happening in Lancaster’s cultural scene. With LUSU’s revamped Cultural Passport scheme, it gives you a great excuse to go and see theatre, performance, museums and music; a free ticket provided if you collect enough stamps. It’s easy to dismiss live shows in favour of film and television, but whilst at university you should make the most of what our corner of the country has to offer: let’s face it, Netflix will still be around after tonight, whereas that show might be a one-off you’d be gutted to miss. With most of us only here for three years, especially if you’re around when no-one else is, it’s the perfect opportunity to see more art and collect some stamps. Even better, it’s easy to get your friends involved once they return.
- See how you can make your third term and upcoming years even better. This sounds odd (and super keen) initially, but this time last year I had no involvement in university life other than attending lectures. After a drunken epiphany, I made a resolution for things to change: over Easter and summer term I signed up to a mentoring scheme, started a society and became involved with SCAN. Look outside of university, too: trawl websites for opportunities. Just because now may be dull doesn’t mean the next few months have to be; in fact, precisely because now is dull should be the perfect opportunity to get planning.
- Find something new to do! Haven’t been to Williamson Park’s butterfly house yet? Go. Never been to Kendal? Get a train up there for the day. Been dying to go to that restaurant in the city centre? Go. The last one might feel a bit weird, granted, but what’s stopping you?
There’s a stigma about being on your own. It makes ‘alone’ synonymous with ‘lonely’, when they are two social situations independent of one another. Lancaster is definitely not the worst place for staying in and no doubt there are plenty of us wishing we were still there. Okay, so maybe buying milk is slightly more exciting now you know Sally’s name, and sometimes you find yourself longing for your housemate to offer you a brew. Ultimately though, utilise the time you have alone to your advantage: make the most of our campus, our city and our opportunities. When your friends get back, they’ll inevitably ask ‘how was your break stuck here?’ and now, rather than shrugging the question away, you can triumphantly reply ‘ it was awesome, thanks’.