Tag Archives: party

The Secret Side of a Student

Before I came to university, I saw it as this one big party. Everyone had said how uni was the best time of their lives and all my friends who were already at university seemed to be having the time of their lives from what I saw over social media. I was getting up for work everyday whilst they got to lie in until 12pm, I was sitting at home most nights whilst they dressed up and went clubbing or had fun nights in with all their friends.

I couldn’t wait to start university. However, it turns out it’s not all it was cracked up to be.

I don’t think I am completely alone when I say university isn’t as wild and as fun as everyone tries to portray it to be. I have spent a lot of nights miserable in my dingy little halls of residence room, wishing I was joining in the fun that everybody else seemed to be having. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some good nights out, but I didn’t build the friendships I hoped I would. Back at home, everyone kind of felt like acquaintances, my friends here at uni also still do. They even make my friends at home feel like long term, deep down friends – at least acquaintances at home were familiar with me and I them.

Living alone is nice, but I do miss my mom and the comfort of home a lot. I am a very independent person and not the type of person who has grown accustomed to some fancy life back home, I did not even think I would miss home at all, but I do. It’s not even just the house and my mom I miss; I am one of the unfortunate ones who – despite being in a flat with eleven other people – doesn’t have a close bond with all their halls mates, so I miss even just company and talking to people where I live. It’s so isolating. Cooking in the kitchen is lonely and even when someone else is too, it’s just awkward. Everywhere is grubby, which was expected of student living, but it’s not exactly home when you don’t even want to sit on the toilet seat because of the germs and dirt…

I think maybe I am just unlucky, that’s all university experiences ever are: luck of the draw. Yes I have friends, but there always feels like there’s some sort of barrier in the way. Even when I do have free time (which is a ridiculous amount sometimes, who thought I’d be wanting more lectures to fill up my lonely time?) it’s hard to find a time when everyone else is free too, or when anyone else actually wants to do something. It’s not that I don’t gel with the people I’ve met, but more I just don’t feel I fit in with people here. Then again, I never feel like I fit in anywhere.

People like me may have come to university in a city they love thinking that this would finally be their calling, their place to be, where everything would finally start falling into place. It has turned out to be the exact opposite, I don’t think I am alone in saying I have never felt more lost or dropped in the deep end than I do now. Sometimes I feel I don’t belong here, but I need my degree and I love the city, but it’s not a comfortable feeling when you don’t feel like you belong or when the path you’ve chosen doesn’t sit right with you.

Some say they met their closest friends after the first term, some say second year is much better as living in a house with your friends is much more comforting than halls of residence when you don’t click with everyone. I guess we’ll see but all I am saying is don’t believe everything you hear before you’ve tried it out.

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A little slice of Lisbon

I would say 7 days in Lisbon as a young adult with a limited amount of money is not enough to see all of Lisbon, but it is more than enough to have seven days of adventure, fun and beautiful sights.

If you’re going to Lisbon the first place I would recommend you go to is Belem. Wherever you are staying in Lisbon, Belem will be an easy tram/bus/train journey away (you must get the train at least once; cheap fairs and a scenic route along the coast is not to miss!).

In Belem, firstly, is the monastery Jeronimos Monastery. I can’t say we went inside, but the outside was more than enough for us and many other tourists. The beautiful carved stone work was like nothing I had ever seen before and was a breathtaking sight.

Monastery in Belem

Monastery in Belem

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Monastery in Belem

Also in Belem, a two minute walk from the monastery is the botanical gardens Jardim Botanico Tropical. This is a decent sized botanical gardens with small bridges across water, bamboo trees, beautiful mosaic benches and wall art, peacocks roaming free and other aesthetic garden features. Seeing a mother duck with about 10 baby ducklings sitting in the grass was definitely one of my favorite bits (maybe that’s just because I’m a sucker for all things cute!).

Botanical gardens

Botanical gardens

Botanical gardens

Botanical gardens

With plenty of fine restaurants, a courtyard with a fountain, a beautiful view of the sea and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (see photos below), Belem is definitely a must whilst in Lisbon

Padrão dos Descobrimentos – a statue marking 500 years since Henry the Navigators death

Row of restaurants and fine dining in Belem.

Row of restaurants and fine dining in Belem.

Moving on from Belem to Barrio Alto and Cais de Sodre.

Not only are the cobbled streets, vintage looking trams and churros vans something that makes these two districts unique, but Barrio Alto especially is known for it’s roaring nightlife. Where our apartment was, there were small bars everywhere, including one either side of us! Which is great for two 19 year olds…not so much if you want  decent nights sleep… Every night expect Sundays and not so much Mondays, the clubs are vibrant and atmospheric, meaning you’ll never be lost on plans for a night out. All bars serve a vast range of drinks including fruity cocktails and Portugal’s specialty: Sangria.

One place in Barrio Alto you must go is the secret hideout that is Park. Hidden at the top of a six story car park, Park is a hidden gem, with one of the most beautiful views I believe any bar has given me.

View from Park bar at night time

View from Park bar at night time

Decorated with wicker furniture and palm tree like greenery, Park not only has a tranquil yet lively vibe, but serves delicious and nicely sized cocktails!

Onto Cais do Sodre. This is down the road from Barrio Alto and too has some brilliant restaurants and cafes including Po Po Lo – which serves some of the best pizza we have ever tasted- and Jeronymo Coffee Shop. The coffee shop has a variety of breakfast items and 5 star coffee (rated by myself).

Damn, these waffles were good

Damn, these waffles were good

Cais do Sodre is not only located near the train station, but, on the vague topic of nightlife, has a fantastic beach club called Urban Beach. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I went for the first time; it was like something off 90210 in California, with a huge swimming pool round the back – do not swim in or you will get take out by security we learned – and a lovely lounging area outside and inside it was a night to remember. Not only because the setting, but because with face paint, great music and a healthy amount of people, the night was exciting.

Urban Beach view

Urban Beach view

If you enjoy the night life and music like us, you’ll also be pleased to know there are also organised bar crawls around Barrio Alto and music festivals on all the time! Including a street festival we went to: small stages scattered around the town outside, with drinks and food stalls. Which may be more up your street if your partying days are over!

You must also go on the train that takes you along the coast, especially if you want a beach day. There are luxurious beaches at every stop, so jump off wherever you fancy.

With little novelties on every corner; a small bakery with Nutella doughnuts, a New York Slice style pizza place, sushi restaurants and even a shopping mall with six floors, Lisbon is a place I think absolutely everyone with all different preferences would enjoy.

So I’m not telling you to go, but at least, have a look online – see for yourself. Otherwise, you’re missing out!