Early in the month, G and I spent an afternoon at the North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival at Holkham Hall. It was such a fun day and we tried so much amazing food. We both agreed, though, that it was a drink that stole the show – Grey Seal Coffee, to be precise. When we discovered that Grey Seal has three cafes around the north Norfolk coast we immediately planned to go to one, so with just two weeks before I left for uni we took a drive up for lunch at the Glandford Art Cafe.
The title of this post makes it sound like making friends at uni is easy; something you can learn to do in a few minutes. But friendships, like all relationships, take time to nurture and build up. Uni isn’t like school, where you’re thrust together with the same, relatively small group of people for days on end. It’s so much bigger than that, and that ironically makes it much harder to meet people to form a bond with. Finding the right people for you can take a lot of time and effort – or it can happen out of the blue. In my experience, finding your future friends involves a bit of work and a bit of luck, but making and securing those friendships can take quite a lot of work. It’s a fun and important process though, and worth it in the end, so here are my tips and tricks for finding your friends at university.
For most, the first thing that comes to mind when you think ‘Cornwall’ is the county’s iconic coastline. Rugged cliffs, crashing waves – and, in high season, overrun with tourists (even on a misty day, the beaches at St Ives were covered in holidaymakers). But somehow, G and I managed to discover a really beautiful treasure. Portheras Cove has everything to love about the astonishing Cornish coast, but none of the noise, litter, and busyness caused by too many visitors.
My first year at university was the hardest of my life. The transition to uni life was so hard to handle that I spent days on end locked in my halls bedroom, wishing I was anywhere but there. I came home at the end of the year depressed, having suffered near-crippling anxiety for much of the year. On multiple occasions I considered dropping out, transferring to UEA and living at home for the duration of my undergraduate degree. But despite all this, I absolutely cannot wait to get back to York this weekend and start my second year – so what’s changed?
The #PrettyHealthyProject has always been, in part, an effort to regain my mental health following my difficult first year at university. This summer, and the project, has largely been a recovery and strengthening process to support me for my return to York this weekend(!). A number of things have aided me in this process, most notably spending so much time with my family, G, and friends, taking the pressure off, and working on my body image and confidence through this project – but I’ve realised that there has been one thing which has helped more than any other. This summer I was given the opportunity to part-loan a horse called Sooty, and the effect has been profound.
St Ives was just a short drive away from our cottage in the very south-west of Cornwall, so we decided to dedicate a misty day to wandering its quaint (though tourist-filled) alleyways and stretching shoreline. It was beautifully photogenic and we spent a very happy few hours browsing the independent art galleries and stores, feasting on Cornish pasties and watching the mist creep quietly away out to sea.
Think ‘Freshers’ Week’. What comes to mind? I’m getting a blind, endless mix of alcohol, hangovers, and club nights with stupid fancy dress themes, not to mention a healthy dose of anxiety, stress and homesickness. When I was preparing for my own Freshers’ Week this time last year I was absolutely terrified; although I enjoy drinks and parties with friends, the idea of a full week of clubbing and exhaustion was, simply, abhorrent. I understand that for many students this really is their idea of great fun, but to me it seemed like this great big hurdle I had to get over before I could actually start uni. In the end, I actually enjoyed my Freshers’ Week – and if you’re feeling like I was last September, read on to find out how you can too.