Looking After Yourself at University…

… by Benedicty / from Romford /
BSc Mathematics / 1st Year (UG)

I’ve always pictured myself as an independent person, and never thought I’d have much of an issue transitioning from staying at home with my family, to living self-reliantly at university. This is because my mum never babied me much whilst I was at home: I occasionally helped her cook, I cleaned the house without help and I had a job, so felt like I could budget my own money. However, this self-reliance at home didn’t mean I would have self-reliance once I set off in the world on my own. This is due to my major character flaw – I am extremely lazy.

Having to deal with making new friends, going out, going to lectures, and handing in assignments, I quickly became overwhelmed. I descended into a diet solely consisting of chicken nuggets with ketchup and coffee and sleeping in a room where I could barely see the floor – not to mention having only about 2 pieces of clothing left in my wardrobe since I hadn’t done any laundry since I had started university.

After 3 trips to the hospital due to various accidents and illnesses, and 2 painful bouts of tonsillitis I decided something had to change. So, I began evaluating my own behaviour, discovering:

  • I hated washing up
  • I always felt too tired to clean
  • I hated cooking
  • I hated exercising
  • I loved spending money
  • Whenever it came to a night out my liver would say no, but my heart would always say yes

Taking note of these I decided to make some changes.

I started with my hatred of cooking. I called my mum and asked if she could make a whole bunch of food for me then freeze it which she did. I came to collect it that weekend and brought it back with me. It meant I had healthy meals pre-made for me that I knew I liked and could easily defrost and microwave whenever it was time for dinner. For breakfast and lunch, I learnt a few easy tasty recipes from friends and cooked those few recipes daily.

To help with my love of overspending, I decided to open another account with my bank and set myself a weekly budget. This meant I had another card and would only have enough that I needed for the week and didn’t go crazy seeing all those numbers after my student loan dropped into my student account. This made me more aware of what I actually had to spend and kept me level headed as I knew what my weekly limits were.

When it came to cleaning up after myself I knew there was only one woman for the job. Her insistent complaining is enough to make my ears feel like they are bleeding, so I set up a rota of when I would do my laundry, and clean my room. Then she would Facetime me the next day and complain at me if it wasn’t done, since she’d ask for me to show her my room. I also just left my washing in the sink, using the guilt of knowing that my flatmates would be annoyed at seeing my unwashed dishes as motivation to eventually clean up.

My emergency sick kit!

Going out slowly became a chore, particularly as exams began to approach, and seeing the same faces in the same places was no longer exciting. I just began to listen to my body more when it came to nights out and drinking, and would decide whether I thought it would be worth it the next day having to endure a day of lectures with a pounding headache.

Exercising is something I still need to work on, as to me a crazy day of exercising is walking up to the fourth floor of Appleton Tower, instead of taking the lift. Who knows what the second year holds, but one thing is for sure- and I advise you all to do the same – I’ll definitely be more prepared to tackle the year, making sure looking after myself is a priority. Because I am not ready to pay the Uber fare to the Royal Edinburgh Hospital again.