My first week in Edinburgh has come to an end and I can proudly exclaim that I survived it. Not only did I survive but I actually really enjoyed my first terrifying week in a strange city with unknown people.
What I’ve learned about student life in Edinburgh so far…
1. It’s Okay To Be A Tourist
There is so much going on in Edinburgh all of the time. It’s not just the Fringe or the New Year street party. There is always live music and events (including loads of literary ones) to get involved with. During my first week, my boyfriend and I spent a day exploring the city like tourists including a spin on the big Ferris wheel and a trip around the National Scottish Gallery to admire some Renaissance paintings (p.s the organic brownies at the NSG are 10/10) I know that I have not even begun to see the tip of the Edinburgh culture iceberg and that excites me! It’s great to resign myself to being a tourist and allowing myself to enjoy the beautiful aspects of this city not just as a residing student.
2. You can make any house a home.
It turns out that it is possible to turn old and slightly gross student accommodation into your own little slice of paradise. I was so worried about leaving the safe haven of my hometown for a new city but I’ve managed to make my flat a place where I’m comfortable and can enjoy some peace from the stress of academics and working. I’ve learned that you don’t need to be moving into the most glam accommodation to make it feel like home. I’ve been filling my room with lovely candles like the ones on my July 2016 Homespiration: Candle Edition list and goodies from the wonderful The Fuzzy Bee Paper Company. I’ll be writing more about turning student accommodation into a home you can feel proud of in the near future.
3. You need to have a strong app game.
To survive life in Edinburgh you will need to get the Bus & Tram app. This has been a gift sent from heaven over the past week. I genuinely think I’d be lying in a ditch in the middle of nowhere right now if I didn’t use this handy travel tool. I use the ScotRail app too. It’s great for working out the quickest and cheapest way to get outta town. And, of course, there’s trusty Google Maps! Pro tip: plug your earphones in and let the robo-voice tell you where to go so you don’t look like a total newbie staring at your phone screen as you try to navigate the unknown streets. If you’re moving to a new city, Edinburgh or not, check out the best travel apps for your phone to make moving around the city a much more pleasurable experience.
4. You need to be savvy with your food.
This week, I’ve learned that it’s not always easy to transition from home cooked meals to scraping together whatever you can. Everyone knows students live on a strict budget and a diet consisting of Pot Noodles and cheap rosé wine. I’m trying to challenge the stereotype of the student who can’t and won’t cook by finding cheap ways to cook healthy and tasty vegetarian food. I’ll be doing a series of blog posts on student cooking which started with my Creamy Coconutty Curry recipe. Keep your eyes peeled for my tips on using leftovers soon (including this yummy potato salad you see above)
5. You’re not alone; everyone else is scared too.
Taking any step in a new direction is scary. Whether it’s a new career path, a new home or a new course, stepping out of your comfort zone is not something we humans like to do very often. But when you open your eyes and look around you quickly realise everyone’s in the same boat and if you talk to people you’ll discover that everyone is experiencing to anxiety-inducing changes all the time. As I was told in a lecture today, you either cope with change, adapt to change or lead the change. P.S: do the latter. It’s not easy but I’m learning to roll with the changes and take comfort in the fact that I am one of many!