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Advice for homesick students

publication date: Sep 23, 2011
author/source: Fiona Beckett
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The problem about Freshers’ Week is that it’s a bit like Christmas. It can so easily not live up to your expectations. The idea of getting away from home, maybe for the first time, meeting new friends and partying every night may seem like a recipe for perfect happiness but it doesn’t always turn out like that.

Unless you’re particularly lucky the people you first meet may not match up to your old friends and even if you hit it off it’ll take time to develop the sort of easy relationship you have with your best mates. You may miss home more than you realise. You may also drink way more than you’re used to which will drag your mood down (alcohol is basically a depressant)

If you do feel like this you’re not alone. Here’s an account from a current student (now more than happy with his university life) about his first week:

"In all honesty, I didn't enjoy fresher's week as it was only about getting drunk at clubs. I do drink (wine with meals, cider at pubs etc.) but rarely drink to excess as I get terrible hangovers. And it's incredibly expensive and unhealthy.

I didn't make any of my close friends at uni in fresher's week, mainly because of the insane binge drinking. I mainly met friends through my course or at my sort of nights out - gigs, coffee houses etc. It is difficult though as week one is entirely targeted at people who want to get completely drunk on completely horrible drinks at completely terrible clubs where completely terrible music is played! And the pressure is on to join in because you don't want to miss out on making friends and no-one wants to be the party-killer who doesn't drink. But you're more likely to make friends if you're not off-your-face."

So what has all this got to do with a student cookery site? Plenty, because good food will protect you from mood swings and cooking can be great therapy. It’s hard in the heady rush of Freshers’ Week to find time to shop but do try to eat regularly, and particularly have something filling before you go out for the evening (and we don’t mean a bag of chips). A bowl of high fibre cereal, a couple of pieces of granary toast with peanut butter or some beans on toast are all quick and easy to prepare.

We don’t expect you to find time this week to rustle up great culinary masterpieces but when the pace calms down a bit try and find time to cook up a batch of home made soup or a Sunday roast. Our contributors will be sharing some of their favourite family recipes with you. If you’ve a favourite, share it with us (remember there are reward points and prizes to be won if you do ;-)

Don’t feel your social life is going to be a disaster if you don’t particularly enjoy spending the night downing vodka shots and being drenched by foam cannons (one of the promised ‘treats’ being lined up for Freshers’ Week by a couple of student unions) Chances are that the people who will turn out to be your best friends can find better things to do too.

And even if you’re having the time of your life, give yourself a 24 hour break from partying to catch up on sleep and get the booze out of your system. Freshers’ Week is only seven days in the next three years of your life.

* We’re not trained counsellors but we have been to uni ourselves and (in my case) have seen kids through uni so don’t hesitate to write to us if you’re feeling low. There are also some useful tips on our Facebook page and you may find this article from our nutritionist Kerry helpful.


If you've enjoyed this article why not visit the Beyond Baked Beans page on Facebook where you can contribute your own tips and recipes.