Rule number one when writing: never apologise. Because I am such a rebel, and I truly felt bad for not having written as much as I am supposed to, I will do it anyway: sorry. For those of you studying at LSE, you will probably understand that your coursework at times can drown you – that’s what almost happened to me, if some friends from my home country, the Netherlands, hadn’t come to visit me last week.
Ironically, I was also apologising a lot the past week, both to my studious self as well as my friends. With the end of the term rapidly approaching, essay, exam, and dissertation stress creeps up on me. Having friends over who are coming to London for you in particular severely increases this stress level for me. I had to learn how to create a balance between the necessary schoolwork but also the necessary fun with friends.
Then I realised for the n-th time in my life as a university student that taking a few days off every once in a while is not a sin, but can also help to relax and regain energy for the next busy week. It also helped me to prioritize my academic commitments and work in advance. Wow, such a learning experience right? I didn’t even have to attend class!
In these busy, stressful periods, I sometimes forget that I live in an amazingly vibrant city, where weeks can be filled with just walking around and finding interesting galleries, cosy cafés, and exciting clubs. Walking through London with one of my closest friends allowed me to see this again.
So here are three tips for things you can do if you want to take a break:
– Go shopping. OK, so I understand that London is not the cheapest city in the world. But next to the fact that there are some cheaper high street stores to buy clothes and accessories, my friend’s obsession with make-up led us to good old Boots, where we spent almost an hour trying the weirdest make-up and other products. But even if you’re too much into drugstores or make-up, or spending money in general, window shopping in the fancier and higher end department stores like Harrod’s or Liberty can be a lot of fun as well.
– Visit a museum: Tate Britain has recently re-opened, so we visited that beautiful museum to see the pre-impressionist paintings of William Turner, whose vague and romantic coloring schemes allow for complete absorption. It completely sets your mind off things and it won’t cost you a thing.
– Explore a new street or neighborhood: I explored Shoreditch more closely with my friend, and we visited Columbia road, a cute little street with a lot of fun little stores. Visiting these kinds of streets made me feel accomplished in a different way, as though I had unravelled some more London mysteries.
Of course, there are more options than these: going to the movies, visiting a farmer’s market, or treating yourself to lunch – the latter of which I will probably write next time you’ll see me on this blog.