A guide for university students

I went surfing the other day! Now I’m sure this statement is hardly surprising, and certainly not worthy of an exclamation point, but as someone who goes to a university a good few hours from a decent break it was pretty exciting.

My work is beginning to pile up, as the stress starts to creep in and everyday big city life gnaws away at my (very limited) brain space, the need to escape for a while grows.

Sometimes I find that when I’m at my busiest, the best way for me to move things forward is to actually stop doing them. For a while at least! To give myself a moments respite from all the constant interruptions we are faced with on a daily basis, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, texts, calls, its hardly surprising people struggle to get things done.

So I decided to just take an afternoon to myself and do what I love. I checked the forecasts, can't go Sunday – no swell, can't go Monday – too big and waaay to much wind, cant go Tuesday – got work when its gonna be pumping, gutted. But Wednesday, I see a gap in my calender, and I also see 3-4ft and low winds! Its on!

Wednesday came and I chucked my board in the car (well I don’t really chuck it, I place it in there with extreme care because its my baby) and accelerated away from the grey noise of Manchester, headed for Anglesey. As I drove, I could feel the tension in my shoulders slowly melting away, and a big ol’ grin creeping across my face. I must have looked a right loon!

I arrived and hopped out the car, racing up the dunes to catch a glimpse of the big wet before getting ready, and I met two fella’s coming the other way. Charlie and Dan were also students taking a break mid week from their studies at Bangor University, where they study Biological Oceanography and English Lit respectively.

We chatted for a bit out in the line up as you do, before finding our own little spots. I always forget how calming the ocean is. Aside from the screaming euphoria of being on a wave, bobbing about out there, with the sun on your face, the only noise being that of the wind and waves, gives you a feeling of freedom and openness that I struggle to find anywhere else.

For me those feelings will often lead to clearer and more creative thinking. Without wishing to sound like a hippy, doolally, airheaded surfer, being out in the water helps me to see the answers to questions I’m struggling with, either by reminding me of what is important in my life or by seeing issues in a different light. Emptying my head of the clutter and being out in nature, doing something I really love, rids me of stress and focuses my mind. So really what I’m trying to say is, GET OUT THERE! You wont regret it.

Most uni’s in the UK have a surf club, join up! They’re a great way to meet like minded people and get out on the water. But if you can’t go on their jaunts for whatever reason, or you want to go more frequently, go yourself. If you don’t have a car, beg, borrow or steal one. Actually don’t do that, that would be bad, very bad. Get a train, or a bus, or hitchhike, just go! And as often as you can, and particularly when you feel you’re too busy to go. Not only will you have a ball playing in the ocean, it will help in all the other aspects of your life.

Ben.