Usually, students celebrate the end of the year with a lot of alcohol and partying. This year, I celebrated by doing what I wish I could have done in the past – by taking a very long nap. Of course, partying is fun, and alcohol is a good way to release tension. However, so is sleeping for fifteen hours, and it has the additional benefit of being much cheaper.
I can also recommend other activities for anyone who, like me, thinks that relaxing alone is the most satisfying thing you can do after a long year of stress, exams, and social events. Try lighting a few candles and taking a bubble bath. Watch your favourite show with an inappropriate quantity of snacks. Give your pet the undivided attention it deserves for as long as it wants. As a general guide, if you own a dog this is probably about two days.
I could go on listing relaxing activities that can be done alone for much longer, but I must acknowledge that some of you out there might be looking for something different, something more akin to the kind of thing that you might have been doing if there wasn’t a national lockdown.
There’s no ‘right’ way that you should be celebrating right now
For the most realistic experience, I suggest blaring music through headphones, then turning all the lights off, walking around the house and apologising to everything you bump into. Feel free to do that if it’s what you’re looking for, but there are some other slightly less realistic ways to have a good time.
A big group call with your university friends is a good way to simulate the experience of a party without having to leave the house. Dressing up for the cameras isn’t just for movie stars, put on whatever makes you feel the best (even if it turns out that’s just pyjamas.) Drinking or even circle games can be played over zoom, and so there are plenty of opportunities for you to say something embarrassing just like at a normal party. If you prefer something a bit more low-key, try out one of the many multi-player games that have taken off since the beginning of the pandemic, or organise a Netflix Party.
Ultimately, there’s no ‘right’ way that you should be celebrating right now. In fact, a lot of people might not feel like celebrating at all. It feels like the year hasn’t really ended properly, and that rather than going out on a high, we’ve gone out on a nothing-at-all. I feel lucky that I’m not even someone who was supposed to graduate this year. I have many friends who are graduating, and it feels like I haven’t had a proper chance to say goodbye to them.
Make sure that before the end of the year, you’ve said all that you wanted to say
Relaxing and celebration are important, but this period of time in between the end of exams and the beginning of whatever comes next is precious. Make sure that before the end of the year, you’ve said all that you wanted to say to the people that you care about.
People will become busier applying for jobs and trying to make their own way in the world. Other friendships might fade more slowly because you begin to focus more on your degree, or if you are no longer living in the same shared accommodation, or you might simply lose interest in whatever brought you together in the first place. The end of some friendships and the beginning of others is a natural part of university life, but although it may be brief, many people find that university shapes them into the person they become. If someone has made a real impact on your life, make time to tell them.