One of the main things that many people look forward to about university is the fun they will have. This might include joining societies, sports teams, taking up new hobbies, going on nights out or enjoying the freedom of living with other students and having more independence.
Clearly, Coronavirus has had a major impact on our social lives. Most of us have seen fewer people than before and you may have found that your hobbies, interests and social activities have been disrupted.
What we cannot say is that your student social life is going to look exactly as you had imagined it or how it was before. It is certainly true that, some of the activities that you might have been looking forward to, will not be possible straight away. Being disappointed about this is normal and understandable. However, this does not mean that you cannot have fun as a student this year.
Four tips for having fun at university
1. Be realistic
Accepting the reality of the current situation, will put you in a better place to enjoy the opportunities for fun that will be available. If you go to university expecting things to be as they were in previous years, then you are likely to feel disappointed and this may lead to you spending time comparing how things are, with how things used to be. This may leave you feeling frustrated and less able to enjoy yourself. Your university will be working really hard to make your experience as good as possible and will be trying to find ways of being able to offer you the normal activities and events, in a safe way. Try to prepare by expecting things to be a bit different, by being open to engaging in things in a different way and to being positive about the opportunities you do have.
2. Work out what is important to you
It can be helpful to spend a bit of time thinking about what you were most looking forward to about university.
- Was it joining a society/club?
- Was it living with other students?
- Was it the nightlife?
- Was it the opportunity to learn more about your subject from your peers?
- Was it the chance to meet like minded people?
- Was it working with other students on issues or campaigns you care about?
Whatever it was that you thought was going to be the most fun about starting or going back to university, there will still be opportunities to do these things in some way. It’s just that you may have to approach them differently. Be proactive, talk to other students, your Students Union or Guild and pay attention to the information your university sends you, to help identify ways to engage in your interests.
3. Work out what actions you can take
Once you have worked out what is important to you, and have identified some opportunities, try to map out what you can still do. For example, whilst going to a nightclub might be unlikely, can you still enjoy a night in with flatmates or a trip to a pub? Can you still enjoy being part of a sports club even though training sessions might be different? Try to make a plan of action, so you aren’t relying on chance. Taking control of making your social life happen will help you to feel more positive.
4. Prepare to be flexible
The reality is that what we can and cannot do is likely to change throughout your time at university. As difficult as it is for all of us, it can help to be prepared to be flexible and expect changes. Although this doesn’t stop us feeling disappointed or sad when things change, it can help us find a way forward more quickly. It may help to read our articles on managing uncertainty.