No weekend plans? Here's how to enjoy your downtime at Queen's
Hear from Erin Mussett, a third-year student of History and English. She tells us about how to best spend a quiet weekend and what she got up to when her friends were at home.
How to spend a quiet weekend in Belfast
Picture this. It’s 7pm on a Friday night, you’ve just finished a gruelling week of classes and work, and it's time to enjoy the weekend.
You just have one issue - your friends have gone home for the weekend. So, what do you do? If, like me, you can’t or choose not to go home every weekend, then here’s some advice on how to enjoy your quiet weekends at Queen’s.
It’s ok to have some quiet time
When I moved to Belfast for university, I had never even visited the city before. I moved from Mayo, I didn’t know anyone and had no idea what I was getting myself into.
University can sometimes be overwhelming, and it can feel like there is pressure to have fun all the time. It is easy to think that if you don’t have constant plans, you’re doing something wrong. I can tell you from experience - this isn’t true.
These kinds of misconceptions can carry through to your weekends. If you find yourself alone on a weekend, it’s certainly not all bad.
Have the ultimate self-care weekend
If you’re like me and you value your time alone, then quieter weekends can be a solace after a hectic week. Think of it as an opportunity for the ultimate kind of self-care!
On a quieter weekend, I loved to spend my time in coffee shops. I’d take myself shopping or for a walk or anywhere, as long as I could get out of the house. I’d buy myself a new book or some flowers or something nice for dinner.
It’s important to remember that doing things on your own is not a bad thing. I think a huge part of the university experience is getting to know yourself better. A quiet weekend is the perfect opportunity to spend some time on your own and do just that.
Widen your circle of friends
Weekend boredom can be curbed somewhat by widening your circle of friends. The more you get involved at university, the more people you meet, and the more diverse your friend group will become.
In first year, I was lucky enough to live with people who didn’t tend to go home at the weekend, so there was always someone around to chat with. But, if this isn’t the case for you, then the more involved you get in university life, the easier it will be to meet people!
Belfast is such a diverse city and there are always going to be people who are in similar situations to you. I can assure you that there is always someone willing to meet for a coffee or go for a walk, who may be feeling homesick or lonely and could benefit from your friendship, too.
Your phone is your friend!
Of course, it is hard to avoid all feelings of weekend loneliness if your friends or housemates are away. In these cases, your phone is your friend! I’m sure we have all learned over the course of the pandemic how valuable social media communication can be.
During my time at university, I don’t think a day went past where I didn’t speak to my family or friends from home. So much so, they were probably sick of me! It’s always nice to know that someone is a mere click away should you need them.
You could even arrange for family and friends to come and visit you in Belfast. It’s always fun showing someone new around the city you call home.