Celebrating in Bath
Christmas break was approaching, and I could tell everyone’s mood had lifted, including my own! Fairy lights lit up the dark evenings everywhere I turned, on campus and in the city, where the Christmas Market had made a return. Visiting both the Bath and Bristol Christmas markets with my friends made for a great couple of days out, a brief break from our assignment deadlines along with a few nights out to celebrate the end of our first semester of course!
It’s a great feeling creating new bonds at university; I realised that I only truly felt ‘at home’ here in Bath once I had found ‘my people’. Luckily it wasn’t impossible like I had convinced myself it would be! To celebrate Christmas together before travelling back home, my friends and I decided to have a little Christmas dinner together. From doing a food shop to feed five people to cooking and cleaning together, it was a lovely feeling; being part of a team.
It is completely understandable to have mixed emotions about travelling to and from university, whatever the time of year. Personally, I was quite sad to be leaving university (for Christmas break) as I had just started to feel like I had settled in Bath. I think the main worry was the fact that we were going to be apart for over a month!
With exam season beginning in January, most of my friends did not travel back to university until early February (when lectures were starting again), so I definitely missed them, and the atmosphere of being surrounded by friends. I also believe many of us live two separate lives, whether at home or at university. For me, that included a completely different routine, surrounded by different people.
As much as I enjoy being back home and catching up with friends and family, it took me a while to get used to it all over again, and the same for when I returned to university! It’s hard to get used to the back and forth, but I have already noticed the transition feeling easier and less of a shock the more I travel.
Luckily the University support teams were available again as soon as the holiday period ended. So it was reassuring knowing I could contact them about any worries, whether I was at home or back on campus.
Back to Bath
Personally, I returned to Bath a few weeks before my lectures started again. It was a relief to have that ‘at home’ feeling even after being away for so long. However, living on an almost scarce campus was strange, yet peaceful! Presuming not many people were back yet, there was understandably very little atmosphere, which I actually enjoyed and managed to make the most of. Not being awoken by lots of voices outside in the small hours ... it was great!
Having no university assignments to complete and no other hugely time-consuming tasks, I had a few weeks of freedom, almost a chance to create my own routine. The main goal I set for myself during this time was to go to the gym regularly. I had definitely missed the luxury of having a gym within a five-minute walk from me whilst I was back home!
Besides going to the gym more often, I managed to pass time by meeting up with any friends that had also returned to campus early. I challenged myself to cook meals I would not usually have the confidence to try. I also Facetimed and kept in touch with my friends and family back home as well as those who had not returned to campus yet, going on walks to see the amazing views of Bath, and did a few hours of volunteering each week.
As someone who enjoys their own company, a few weeks on campus with not a lot to keep me busy was a great chance to relax. There were definitely days when I found no way of passing time and ended up feeling lonely or had too much time with my thoughts. Again, this was barely an issue as I always felt I had a support system through the University, and a single Teams call was all it took to get in touch and talk to someone.