Here’s a short list of the lessons I’ve learned spending the past three years of my life as a non-economically-independent but free-spirited international student in the U.K. – between 9am classes, cheap wine and meal deals.
- If you feel like it, you’re free to do it
It doesn’t matter if it’s a Tuesday or if it’s too early, if you feel like it, you can have a couple shots of tequila and dance on the lamest Spotify compilations while making eye contact with all those guys who’ll never have the guts to approach you in real life. Plus, there appears to be no social construct dictating which season is more appropriate to wear cocktail dresses, nor social standards setting who’s to wear skinny clothes and who’s not. There’s little difference in having defined abs or owning a donut hips, if you feel good in your skin then you’re as likely to get lucky as anyone else.
- It’s okay to do your grocery shopping in your sweatpants
No matter which one you pick – if you get 8 KitKats for £1 or organic stuff for three times the price food should morally cost -, supermarkets are a good time killer for your pajamas days and nobody really cares if you’re doing your vegan food shopping or if you’ve been wearing that mascara for the past three days. Students from all backgrounds, with whichever shade of skin and hair color all have a common social status of perpetual misery in which they’re comfortable in. It’s a sort of humanizing moment, leveling all mental boundaries and geographical prejudices – we’re all in the same boat of Domino’s Pizza deals and long bus drives to save money.
- Early mornings
They don’t exist.
- Keeping fit is the new flirting
Well, I can’t be objective here as I am one of those alternating my days between chocolate before-during-after a meal and lunch breaks on the treadmill while listening to Latin Americal hits, confined in body-shaping leggings and sucking my belly in to keep a margin of appeal. The gym is not a sport – but so isn’t table tennis and golf. Plus, you’ll probably end up flirting more while you’re squatting than at any other time.
- No matter how good it looks, it’s always going to be jejune
An approximate count of the average calories needed by a human being makes me feel free to have three non-balanced meals a day these often including pasta, imported tropical fruits and wine. Oh, peanuts are becoming a good substitute to proper cooking, especially if followed by a night out and 3am snack. Most foods are tasteless, at this point you might as well go for whatever, whenever. At least that’s what my doctor told me after a whining session about bloated stomach, pimples and saltless meals.
- Interaction is only real when alcoholic
I can’t really provide a smooth generalization of stereotypical attitudes of people. I can say that the easiest way to get someone to come and talk to you is bottled courage aka alcohol aka good excuse to start whatever exchange of fake numbers, saliva and random stories that will make your routine sound cool. Also, don’t expect one of those adventurous thrills you see in movies or hear in songs; realistically the closest you’ll get to perfect matching with someone is a five-minute setting up of a Tinder account and crossing your fingers for fate to offer you what’s available on the hormonal market. Not to be a mood-killer, but the sooner you accept it the better chances to not finding yourself picking among those who haven’t found anyone to kiss before the end of the party. You’re welcome.
Now go and make the most out of your midweek clubbing love stories and casual winter walks in your flipflops. The U.K. is pure fresh air for your constipated freedom, for your cultural prejudices and let it turn your comfortable strongholds upsidedown.
Life may not be all peaches and fascinating strangers and dandelions, but it can be fun.