How to ward off the Freshers blues and settle into uni as a Cardiff student
It’s not always easy
Freshers just isn’t always the dream we all thought it would be, especially during a pandemic, but it really isn’t just a ‘freshers’ thing. Moving away from home is rough to returning students too, especially after a long summer break.
Everyone’s got their own ways of coping with the loneliness that creeps in after moving back, but here are some things that might help:
Make your room as comfortable as possible
Decorating your flat makes such a difference. It sounds obvious, but after spending two weeks without ninety per-cent of my stuff, I realised just how much of a difference it made to how I felt in my flat. Yes, my room is super messy but it’s also exactly me. I bought several plants, a ton of books from charity shops, and was reunited with the massive unicorn I won at Winter Wonderland.
Societies are a great way to meet friends
It’s something everyone tells you and it’s probably something you’ve thought of doing yourself. Societies are a great way of meeting new people and Cardiff University has SO MANY that there really is something for everyone. In my first year, my friends thought I was insane for joining so many. I actually barely had any time for anything but, the thing is, I was super lonely in the start and societies kept me busy. I was in my course society, three different “nerd” societies, part of Quench and, clearly, The Cardiff Tab. As well as a couple of other societies based on things I was interested in.
There’s also loads of Give It A Go’s which is perfect if you’re not sure about joining a society or not. Every fresher is nervous about attending these, you’re not alone. They’re a great way to meet likewise people and a great way to smash your fears.
Volunteering is more social than you’d think
Cardiff Volunteering is the easiest way to do something that makes you feel good because you’re doing good. You’re also so much more likely to meet people with things in common if you’re volunteering with something you’re passionate about. My first year I volunteered with Make A Smile, went to all their training events, and met some lovely people. Besides, even if I hadn’t met anyone, I had the best time with all the children who thought I was an actual princess.
Visit the University Jobshop to find part-time work
If you haven’t signed up to Jobshop, it’s a necessity at this point for both a little extra cash, and to meet new people. If you’ve had a job before, you know that bonding over work struggles is super easy. Just talk about something that happens over the shift and you’re sorted. You’re bound to mess up and embarrass yourself. I stumbled over words, ran after a student because they left something behind, and almost fell down the stairs. You just laugh about it and after a couple of shifts, you make friends.
Take part in online Residence Life Team events
Last year the RLAs ran a ton of events, which was a super easy way to meet people who lived in the same accommodation as you. Even if you don’t end up meeting other first years, the events are run by students in Cardiff and are always super fun and interesting. Once, I even learned how to sew.
Unfortunately, this year they’re all online – but don’t let that stop you! Sometimes it’s nice just to have a conversation with someone outside of your own flat.
Get down to the Bay for a day trip
Cardiff Bay is super close, considering we’ve got the pandemic to think about. Especially if you snag a next bike and cycle there. It makes the easiest trip during those sunny days.
Even if you’re on your own, chances are your flat would like to go too. I did the trip my first year and my second year. First year was significantly different to my second year, even though both times I was around people I didn’t know.
If you like reading, Cardiff Library is great!
If you’re a big reader, going to the library is a great way to deal with loneliness – fully avoid it and lose yourself in another world. The library in Cardiff? Immaculate. And it’s right next door to Wagamama’s, can’t complain!
Do a flat Come Dine with Me!
Baking and cooking are ALWAYS a good idea. The fastest way to someone’s heart is through food. It’s also a great way to share bits about your culture, your favourite meals, and just bond over food really. My flatmate made African food, I made Indian food, we’re having a Christmas roast, and sometimes we just grab a bottle of wine and have a little wine and cheese night. I mean, who says no to food, right?
Don’t wait for others to invite you, initiate plans yourself
Sometimes the best way to make plans with friends is to initiate them yourself! If you really want to do something, plan it, pick a date and time, and ask your friends if they’d like to come out with you. It’s also more likely to happen if you’ve got a solid plan in place.
Of course, everyone copes with their loneliness and homesickness in their own way, sometimes a little extra support goes a long way too and luckily at Cardiff, there’s a variety of services like, Talk It Out, the Buddy Scheme, Mind Your Head, Cardiff Nightline, and Student Minds, to help students who are struggling.
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