It’s been a tough week. Packing your all-grown-up little bundles of joy off to University was no doubt an emotional rollercoaster. But by now we hope you’re realising some of the perks of them flying the nest. You can plan a trip away without having to worry about returning to a trashed house, and no longer have to worry about being back in time to cook the tea.
So to help you make the most of your new found freedom, and to help to keep the mental images of little Charlotte or Oliver throwing up all over a nightclub floor from your mind’s eye, we’re offering up seven tips for surviving Freshers, grown-up style.
Our research shows that taking five breaks a year is more beneficial than your typical two week long holiday, so while the kids are off having the ‘time of their life’ during their stint as a Freshman, what better excuse to head on a European city break and put these tips to the test? We’re sure they’ll take your mind off the kids’ shenanigans…
1. Drink Plenty of Wine
…and soak up the nightlife. While Charlie and Ollie will more than likely be chinning dirty pints and strawpedo-ing sickly sweet bottle after sickly sweet bottle of alco-pop, you’re at a stage in life when you know a good tipple when you find one. Kick back and pop a cork in one of Europe’s swankiest squares this Freshman year. We’re thinking a nice Chianti overlooking Venice’s Piazza San Marco… Ahh, bliss.
2. Hook Up (With Your Husband)
We hate to break it to you, but the first year of uni will probably be filled with a series of flings and whirlwind romances for your not-so-little ones (come on, surely you remember those days?) But for you, now’s the time to rekindle the romance with your other half. We think a horse-drawn carriage ride through Bruges should kick things off nicely…
3. Meet New People
University is all about meeting new people and making friends for life (as well as the studying, of course). You might even have met your other half while you were there. But while your kids are busy figuring out which clique they belong in, now’s the perfect time for you and the Mr to add some more names to the Christmas card list. You never know who you’ll be rubbing shoulders with on a mini cruise to Amsterdam.
4. Expand Your Culinary Horizons
Think about all the 10p packs of noodles your offspring will be consuming this year when they realise they have zero cooking skills while you tuck into your tapas tasting platter on Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, and let a little smug smile creep on to your face (we won’t tell).
5. Get To Know The Library
An integral part of surviving the first year of uni for your budding playwright/architect/doctor will be getting to grips with the library and easing themselves in to three/four/five years of study. While you’ve done your time grappling with deadlines and word counts, don’t rule out heading back to the library for some serious visual inspiration on your next short break. Europe is home to some of the world’s most breath taking libraries, including the Rococo-styled Abbey Library of St. Gallen in Switzerland and Dublin’s Trinity College Library, home to the legendary Book of Kells.
6. Join The Team
Another major thing on the bucket list of your Freshman offspring will no doubt be making into one of the University sports teams. Varsity games are serious business when you’re in the uni bubble (and the initiation activities get pretty intense too!). Take inspiration from their ‘team spirit’ and join in with one of Europe’s renowned mass-participation events. You’ll never forget that time you took part in the La Tomatina tomato-throwing festival that takes place near Valencia every August.
7. Reinvent Yourself
They might have started out their Freshman year with all-black-everything emo attire, but chances are by the time they’re back for summer, your mini-mes will have a whole new image and wardrobe to match (that’s what student loans are for, right?). Now they’re not at home draining your budget, you’re bound to have a few spare pennies you can use to treat yourself to some fab new gear too. Combine shopping with sightseeing in some of Europe’s best shopping cities such as Paris or Rome, and wow them with your new wardrobe when they next come and visit.
What tips do you recommend for making the most of it now your kids have flown the nest? Let us know in the comments below…