A London Jaunt and looking after myself
Term was going terribly. The house was tense, I was tense, the workload was not tense because it was too busy being smug about the amount of pressure it was putting on me. I needed to get away.
And the swooped in my friend who I went travelling with in my gap year with an invitation to go and visit her in Kingston for the weekend. Naturally I snatched her hand off.
Getting to London from Oxford is really easy because there's a direct and very cheap bus, confusingly called the Oxford Tube. For my return it was £15 as a student ticket which is insane considering how expensive trains etc are. It's roughly a 2 and a half hour journey and the bus deposits you right in the very centre of London.
I've been to London quite a few times, I think me and my family go almost every year to look at exhibitions and I really enjoy the hustle and bustle and living there is certainly a dream of mine.
My trip consisted of lunch in St James Park, finding the iconic Scotland yard sign, going to Camden Market and a few other things. What we didn't bank on was the almost debilitating heat and the political protests happening all over the place! I really enjoyed my time out and it was so good to see my friend and just have some fun for once.
Oxford, of course, has its fun aspects but under the pile of work they can be few and far between. I often don't allow time to look after myself. I don't often do things I really enjoy like seeing a play, going to the cinema, painting my nails or anything like that and that's the quickest way to exhaustion. Taking time to properly look after yourself, even if it's just one evening a week is so important. It gives you something to look forward to for one thing. But it also acts as a reminder that you matter and you're important and reconnects you with the idea that there is more to life than degree work, which at Oxford, is easy to forget.
Leaving Oxford entirely which included jettisoning my laptop and pencil case reminded me of all this and I came back feeling refreshed and better able to face my work, other people, student life in the time of COVID and anything else that might be thrown at me.
I think the lesson I've learnt from that is to do it more regularly. I deserve to go and see my friends in other unis or head home for a weekend or go and see that film or play or try that new café. These are the kinds of little niceties that make life enjoyable. Oxford it not geared towards allowing those experiences so when you feel yourself starting to slip into despair, allotting time for these activities will pull you back from the brink and refuel you. I really cannot stress how important a lesson this has been for me and how much I wish I had known it earlier. I think my first year me would have been grateful.