The Graduate’s Guide to Socialising by Sara
Posted on April 19th, 2017
Sara’s top tips on how to adapt to life as graduate in Newcastle
Remember the good old days of being a student? You’d set your alarm on a Sunday night with absolutely no intentions of actually attending your 9am Monday morning lecture, instead choosing breakfast in bed with your housemates and a good old debrief of the night before. Sadly, as a graduate in Newcastle I’ve discovered, once you’re a full time worker – this just isn’t a feasible option. (Booo).
When that alarm clock rings, you know you’ve got to dress up, show up and make it through until 5pm if you want to pay the bills. We all know that part and parcel of being a self-sufficient adult is spending a bit of time doing things you may not particularly enjoy, to earn money and facilitate the things you do like to do. But with all that hard work, it’s hard to find time to enjoy yourself and actually have a social life.
I’ve had to have a shift-round of my schedule since graduating and noticed that I’m gravitating towards some different ways of socialising. Don’t worry, I haven’t given up bars in favour of knitting (I’m not quite at that stage yet) – I’ve simply started to choose things which are more time and cost-efficient.
I’ll share my top tips for making the most of your time below…
Make the most of your mornings
I’ll put my hands up here and admit that I am not a morning person. During my student days I’d be more than happy to sleep until lunch time, but now that I’m working, I’ve been forced to find ways to actually make mornings bearable. Instead of getting up fifteen minutes before I need to leave the house and scrambling for the bus with one shoe on, I now set my alarm 15 minutes earlier than I need to. It allows me a while to shake off the cobwebs, and means that I have the time I’d usually spend drooling in bed to get ready slowly. I’d recommend using your mornings to find a new Spotify playlist as you do your make-up, or catch up on your fave iPlayer show while you’re eating your toast. That way, you feel like before you’ve even got to work, you’ve done something fun. Even if it’s just listening to a new podcast on the bus – try something new and I bet you’ll feel a bit more enthusiastic about the day ahead.
Look around for free activities close by after work
If you’re anything like me, at the end of a long, hard day all you want to do is crawl into bed and go unconscious. That being said, it’s key for your mental health to make sure you’re meeting up with friends and not just focusing on work all week. If you asked me to trek 45 minutes out of my way after work, I’d tell you to jog on. 10 minutes down the road for a free activity though? I’m there. If you do a bit of metaphorical legwork, you’ll find that there are actually loads of cool, free activities on in the city after hours. Ernest is a café/bar in Ouseburn which regularly puts on free film screenings, Kommunity is a social space that regularly hosts free creative workshops, and NE1’s Get into Newcastle website has it’s own tag – ‘alive after five’ – with tons of fun night time activities. In the likes of Heaton and Jesmond, local community groups often run free yoga taster sessions or walking groups – have a look and see what you can find.
Ernest at the Ouseburn hold evening social activities like film club and tango lessons!
Break your bar habits
By making the most of the city’s free options, when you do have to splash the cash you’ll be in a better financial position to give new bars the chance to wow you, instead of relying on Wetherspoons. Since having a full time job in the city, I’ve strayed away from my lifelong Spoons habit and now prefer to go somewhere a bit different on occasion, even if that means shelling out a few more pennies. Personal favourite bars of mine in and around the city centre are Alvinos, Bierrex, Wylam Brewery and the recently opened Billy Bootleggers by Grainger Market.
If you love the idea of an American style dive bar with live music and specialty bourbon Billy Bootleggers could be for you!
Don’t feel guilty for doing nothing
Last summer, I wrote a post on my personal blog on ‘the art of doing nothing,’ in which I tried to dispell the common belief that if you aren’t busy, then you aren’t successful. Too many recent-graduates (and indeed those who graduated a long time ago) put pressure on themselves to always be super-motivated and on the lookout for the Next Big Thing. Updating your LinkedIn profile and checking work emails after hours might seem productive, but in the long run, it’ll keep your mind ticking over during time you should be using to relax. We need to take a leaf out of the Danish’ book and adopt the art of hygge – appreciating feeling cosy, safe and happy doing nothing. Next time you’re tempted to open up your laptop at 8pm, grab a blanket, a cuppa and a book instead, and appreciate just having time to chill.
Do you have any tips for making the most out of your minimal free time? Are you a graduate in Newcastle? If you do, let us know!
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