For a lot of students, going home over Christmas is a highlight, a chance to catch up with friends from school and get thoroughly spoilt by family who haven’t seen you for almost ten weeks. But for some students it isn’t possible. Some live too far away and flight costs increase significantly around the Christmas holidays. Others have essays due or exams at the start of January and want to stay behind to focus on their studies.
1. Stay positive
If you haven’t got an invite to a family feast this 25th of December, don’t worry. There are still plenty of ways that you can enjoy the festive holiday, even if your student halls aren’t quite as cosy as home. You’ll also get to avoid fights over chocolate selection boxes and what to watch on Boxing Day.
2. Keep busy
Halls and shared houses will definitely be quieter over the holidays, but that can be quite nice if you need a rest. Don’t spend all of your time in your bedroom watching American sitcom repeats though. There are plenty of activities you can take part in outside of university.
Find out if there are any events going on in your town. There most likely will be Christmas markets, carol services, shopping days and special theatre shows such as panto. These are a great way to get your Christmas fill when you are far from home.
3. Explore the city
It can seem that when there are no students, the town seems empty, but usually universities are part of a community that still offers plenty outside of term time. Students often don’t visit the sights or museums till they are just about to leave university, but if you are staying over the Christmas holidays it’s a perfect time to pretend to be a tourist.
4. Find out who else is staying over
The chances are you won’t be the only student who is staying at university over the holiday period, so find out who else will be staying and make some plans. If you can, arrange a meal where everyone brings a dish, or go to a restaurant and save yourself the washing up.
Christmas is a difficult time for a lot of people who don’t have friends and family, especially the homeless or those who are in hospital. If you can’t make plans or just want to give back over the holidays then volunteering at a shelter, visit an old people’s home or spend the morning handing out gifts at the local hospital. Of course it will be a very different kind Christmas, but it will be a very rewarding one too.
6. Call home
If you can’t get there, then use video chat to bring you closer. If your family are celebrating Christmas then it’s probably best to avoid footage of the actual celebrations, as it can make you more conscious of what you are missing out on.
When January starts and all the students return, things will get busy. Try to enjoy the downtime and get some rest. You could use the time to get ahead with your studies or read the books that you’d normally have to queue for during term time.