For some students Christmas can be very difficult – having to put on a brave face, being around family members that maybe get on your nerves, coping with added social pressures as well as January deadlines. It’s also financially difficult.

Of course, Christmas can also be useful for stocking up on food, enjoying a warm home, being around friends and family you may have missed as well as having lots of places and parties to go to.

In fact, who wants to return to university? There’s that paper you haven’t written which is due in soon. There’s an empty fridge and a messy shared kitchen. There’s a poky flat and a dodgy boiler, with a landlord who won’t take calls. Of course, there’s no (re)fresher’s week to look forward to, and then there’s the dreaded cold weather – we are constantly reminded how January can be cold and dull and stressful. Where has all your money gone? The list goes on.

The thought of lectures, a thesis to write, assignments to complete, placements to go to – these can be really overwhelming. The January Blues can set in.

So, let’s help make it a little easier for you.

Set small goals

  • Buying food for your return
  • Taking something to spruce up room that will make you feel comfortable
  • Rewarding yourself for the goals you achieve
  • Reading a chapter from a new book
  • Unwind with some gaming with your friends

Make a list, checking it twice

Make a list of everything you need to do and tick them off as you go. Try and remember how it feels when you’ve achieved something. Remember the satisfaction it brings and how it helps to alleviate stress you might be feeling.

  • Pack bag
  • Buy shopping (Raid the family fridge)
  • Contact University friends to meet up with on return
  • Break your essays/assignments down into small tasks
  • Paying rent and bills

Course Work

Know what you are studying inside and out, which topics you should be studying for, when your deadlines are and what your exam structure is. This will help you to feel in control.


Going back to your flat/halls after university when you have been in the comfort of your home can leave you feeling meh!

This is the start of a New Year – they don’t call it that for nothing. This is the perfect time to decorate that space but remember you might not be able to use paint (check your rules with your landlord). Think of something you can put in your flat, a new poster, a plant (cacti tend to thrive better), a new duvet set for your bed or a new blanket.


Get to know your tutors better, ask them for help if you are overwhelmed – they’ve been a student before in the past so they will most likely have lived experience. It’s their job to support you. So start this New Year by reaching out to them.

All that Stuff

If you have a lot of things to take back to university and you don’t want 2 trips with your family (that’s stressful enough) or you don’t want to have to take the train, consider using

How Do You Really Feel

If going back to university fills you with dread, and you feel uncertain, speak to your family and friends, the welfare service at your university, use your university Nightline if they have one or consider setting one up. Also, remember to make sure you are registered with a GP.

Here are some links that might be helpful:

If the thought of going back to university leaves you with thoughts of suicide or you are concerned about someone else, please talk about it – contact HOPELINE247.

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