Attending full-time university is a massive strain on your mental health and your bank balance. The stress of uni work and trying to afford life can be very difficult to balance, as I am learning myself. Having a travel bug whilst knowing the next 3 years of your life will be spent scraping by on part-time hours, whilst bombing out your work in the library with the limited free time you have, not to mention keeping your social life.
I have discovered whilst being at uni that it is actually possible to travel and do exciting things and see my friends, whilst keeping up to date with uni (just..). However I also have learnt that relationships whilst at university are almost impossible to maintain, whilst having a good social life and doing all the things you want to do, which was one of the reasons my relationship broke down. The positive not being in a relationship though is that I have more time to focus on myself, my friends and my studies.
Travelling on a very tight budget can be difficult, recently I have been luckily enough to run into a few free tickets to a few gigs and festivals which has kept spending to a bare minimum, I have also travelled to a lot of places within the UK on my motorbike, which also makes things very cheap.
I have been told how lucky I am to visit the places I have visited and do the things I want, however it comes at a cost, as the past 2 weeks off university I will have worked over 100 hours of night shifts to enable myself to do what I want to do, whilst being able to afford to live. Working at the hospital on the bench (zero hour contract) enables me to work as little or as much as I want, when I want. I also work 20+ hours a week on night shifts whilst I am at university, having a lack of sleep and surviving off caffeine.
My recent trips whilst attending university haven’t been as exciting as the tour of southeast Asia which I completed in February, but I have had a lot of fun within the UK. Watching motorbike races in Oulton park and Isle of Man, day trips to the lake district & Ingleton falls, gigs in Manchester and London and a 36 hour trip to Düsseldorf. I believe that I am living proof that if you work hard enough, being at university shouldn’t restrict your travels and the amount of fun you can have.
My future trips will be Beatherder festival, in a few weeks time and hopefully a few more music events. However as I am dying to plan another trip to Thailand (if I can find the flights for cheap enough) which I am hopeful of doing later this year. Although Thailand may seem expensive and a bit much for a uni budget holiday, bar the flights it is the cheapest few weeks away possible, with accommodation from £45 for 2 weeks, the price of 2 weeks in Thailand will easily be cheaper than a festival later in the year.
If you are going to take anything from this blog post, It should be that it is possible to have fun and travel whilst studying, however it comes at the cost of working like a dog and having an insane lack of sleep at times. My opinion is that, as important as university is; travelling and having days/ weekends away on little adventures is equally important, especially for your mental health. Taking a break and having fun should always be one of the most important things, as it will reduce stress & anxiety, make you feel happier and more fulfilled with life. With my particular degree of Nursing, I am almost guaranteed a job the end of my 3 years, so my view is, that is the time I will be financially stable and be able to afford to seriously save money to move away permanently and have a place of my own, so in the mean time, I just want to experience as much of life as possible and have the most exciting 3 years I can have.