You’re used to your freedom. It doesn’t matter if you’re finishing your first, second or third year – you’ve acclimatised to eating when you want, coming home when you want, and going out when you want.
Obviously you miss your family back home, but moving back can be tough once you get over the honeymoon period of being home (hint: it lasts around a week).
Then there’s the added struggle of not seeing your uni mates, and if you don’t have a summer job or travel plans, a long summer ahead with not much to do. Compared with Manchester, where there seems to be something going on every day, summer can feel like a welcome release after the stress of exams, but also like a long time away. It’s normal to feel like going home will be strange – especially in first year, but there are things you can do to make the adjustment period smoother.
Plan to keep busy
If you’ve got no plans for summer other than being at home, keeping busy can help with boredom and give you something to talk about to your mates other than the 12 box sets you watched on Netflix.
Staying busy can include literally anything you can do on a regular basis – going on a long dog walk, learning new recipes, exercising, taking up a new hobby or improving an existing one, reading a book, getting a part-time job, and catching up with friends from school. If you manage to fill each week with activities, you’re more likely to have a productive summer and not find yourself constantly wondering how to pass the time.
Everyone tends to miss their mates from uni over the summer, no matter how much you keep in touch with each other on the group chat. Yet summer is actually a great chance to meet up with friends for a weekend – with a railcard you can get cheap tickets booking 3-4 weeks in advance, and National Express and Megabus also do cheap travel.
If you can drive, taking the car for a road trip can be a great way to see some sights, and it’s relatively cheap once you split petrol costs. Planning a trip away with your mates will give you something to look forward to and summer is the perfect time for a catch-up before fresher’s week starts.
Try not to annoy your family
This sounds like a no brainer, but it can become a problem. This isn’t A-Levels anymore – you’ve lived independently and you’re used to it, so being nagged about tidying your room and cleaning the house can get annoying. Your family should respect your independence, but also remember that you are living in their house, not your student place anymore, so it won’t hurt to get on their good side now and again by cleaning up after yourself rather than leaving your dishes ‘to soak’. Doing some small favours to help your parents out will keep any arguments to a minimum, leaving you with more time to enjoy yourself.
Build up your experience
It’s never too early to start thinking about life after graduation. This can be annoying to hear – especially if sometimes you don’t even know what to make for dinner, let alone do for a living. The more you can big up your summer activities, the more impressive and ‘well rounded’ you’ll look to employers.
Don’t assume that to get experience you need to have a gruelling job as an unpaid intern, or get a position through people you know. Any sort of experience – retail, bar work and summer camps – will stand you in good stead and show that you’ve spent your summer productively.
Keep in touch
It’s important to stay in contact with your friends over summer, especially if you feel a bit lonely at home. Obviously it’s probably best to avoid texting every minute of every day, as you’ll have nothing to talk about when you go back to uni, but keeping in touch and updating each other on summer activities will make you feel less uni homesick.
This is the most important point – you’ve (probably) worked hard all year at uni, seeing off countless deadlines, exams, reading, library time, more reading, lectures, seminars and office hours. As well as trying to keep on top of your academics, there’s the social side of uni and the extra responsibility you have living away from home. All of this can get a bit exhausting, so make sure to relax and enjoy your summer! Whatever you do, have fun doing it. We’re still fortunate enough to have a few summers left, so try and make it a fun break before it all starts again in September.