As a northern lass hailing all the way from Newcastle, I’ve had my fair share of experiences with long distance relationships during my time at Leicester. After finishing my summer exams, I dreaded the day I would be packing up my things from my lovely uni house and moving back up to Newcastle, as I knew this would mean the end of a year spent messing around with my best friends (and of course, doing some studying!).
This was worsened by the knowledge that my third year was going to be spent all the way in the Netherlands (yikes!), and I wouldn’t just be a half hour walk from my mates, but in a whole new country on my own, a big step even for a seasoned long distance-goer like me. So, for anyone who has been struggling with missing their friends away from uni, or wondering how to cope during a year abroad or placement, I have some tips that have proven to be useful to me through my time at uni and since I’ve been at home getting ready for Leiden.
- Keep a journal during your time at uni
I decided to keep a little journal to help with work deadlines, but over the year I also put little daily notes in, nothing too long or soppy, just things that made me smile or want future me to remember. I’ve found it really helpful to look over my year when I’ve been down about leaving Leicester, as it’s reminded me just how many memories I’ve made with my friends over the year and to have this be my focus, rather than waste time being sad the year’s over.
- Keep busy
When I’m back home, I find I get most nostalgic when I don’t keep myself busy enough. To combat this (after an initial week or so recovering from lack of sleep at uni), I’ve been arranging to see my old school friends much more, spending loads of time with my family, keeping fit by going on jogs with my doggo, and, of course, filling out boring paperwork needed for my year abroad and making sure everything I need to start the year has been arranged – keep your eyes peeled, as I will be talking more about this in my next post.
Stopping for a mid-walk break
- Keep updated with your friends’ adventures over summer
Group chats with your friends are so useful for this, as you can keep each other up to date with what’s going on and joke about just like you would at uni together. I also have a shared playlist with a group of friends, where we all add newly discovered songs that we think the rest might like.
- Arrange to see each other over summer
For those organised enough to arrange a group holiday over summer, this is a great way to look forward to spending time with friends, and lessens the wait to see them when you’re all back at uni. Unfortunately for me, I and all my friends are ridiculously disorganised and often don’t have much money, but somehow we’ve managed to sort out a visit to the north. Soon, all of my pals will be coming up to visit me, meaning a free place to stay for them, and we’re in the middle of planning late night beach trips by the chilly northern sea – woohoo!
It’s hard enough leaving your close friends for the long summer, but knowing it’ll be another year until you’re back at Leicester with your pals is even worse. However, I also know that in order to try new things, you sometimes have to give up older, more comforting ones, and hopefully by the time I start my year at Leiden, I will be enjoying myself enough to know it was worth it!