Kitchen table showing a variety of homecooked dishes ready to be shared

Managing change/being independent

Going to university requires students to have high levels of independence, not only in studying but also in managing our life. As an international student living very far from home without any family around to help, learning to be independent has become especially important.

First of all, I now have to do my own paperwork such as registering for a National Insurance number or a Schengen Visa without support from my parents. They can be daunting at first, but also great learning opportunities in “adult-ing” and being independent.

Secondly, I now do all the cooking myself. My first meal in the UK was actually the first meal that I have ever cooked, because at home all the meals were prepared by my mum and dad. I now have learned that cooking is an essential skill for an independent life, and it is a fun activity, too!  Although I packed lots of instant noodles with me, I try to avoid them along with takeaways and mostly cook fresh and healthier meals. Instead of eating out whenever I hung out with friends, we held potluck dinner parties at our houses, which were so much fun! Especially when I could learn about the cuisine of my international friends’ countries as well.

Table filled with international homemade dishes
Potluck with friends

One aspect of being independent that is crucial but particularly challenging to me is establishing and following a daily routine. I used to think that I could only have a productive daily routine and have dedicated time to do things like reading books or completing an online course when I had lots of free time. However, these few months in lockdown have shown me that is not the case. When I no longer have to go to class or work, it has become so much harder to force myself to get out of bed to do such tasks, especially when my desk is only 2 steps away from the tempting bed! Still, now that I have a deadline for my dissertation, I will try to be much stricter to myself to adhere to my planned daily routine and be more productive!

Please note: This content was created prior to Coronavirus, and some things might be different due to current laws and restrictions. Please refer to Government advice and the University of Lincoln for the latest information.