6 Socio-economic factors that have shaped my first months of working and living in London – Guest Blog – Shannon McCaul

Looooong days…  

If you are anything like me, your student days are far from short, getting to campus for your 9ams and carrying on until the early hours dancing away in The Sugarhouse… but there really is something different and much more difficult with managing the tiredness of five 9-5 days every week!

Some days will flyyy by whilst others will be at s n a i l pace… I think getting used to sitting in one space at a desk for 8 hours, is where I have really struggled, I like to be up and active, so being confined to one space makes the day feel slightly longer (and much more boring)

The Tube?!?

For me, London has always been a novelty, a Christmas time trip with family or a competition location with my dance teams, so the tube was always a new, fun and exciting experience, however…

A (rural) Northerner on 8:30am commuter tube journeys in central London goes exactly how you would think, terribly! I feel like I’m too polite, I apologise every time I accidentally nudge someone, I let people on in front of me and just disregard those who angrily push in front of me. I’m working on getting a tougher, Southern, tube commuter skin – Stagecoach you aren’t going to know what’s hit you when I return! (Secretly I can’t wait to be able to smile and say thanks to the bus driver)

Office Relationships

Working relationships is something I have struggled with. Getting used to being around the same people for 40 hours a week as well as being in each other’s personal space constantly.

When do you become friends and not colleagues? Are we always going to be just colleagues or is it normal to become close friends with one or two staff members?

Competition in the workplace, especially when working at an intern level! Everyone wants the same thing, progression –balancing the friend/colleague relationship and maintaining a good rapport with the want to improve your personal academic and company growth.

Budgeting

Living in London, working in central London…it’s the dream, right?! All those amazing restaurants, sights, shows and things to do! “Make the most of your year in London, Shannon – take advantage of everything that you have on your doorstep!” I came to London with the expectation and readiness to live the London life, but paying (extortionate) rent and bills, for daily transport and for food shopping, it all adds up to a cost higher than what your minimum wage pay package can cover! I always knew it would be tough, but not as tough as it actually is. I am still having an amazing (budgeted) version of London life, I just have to be a lot more wary with where and how often I spend my money, in comparison to when in Lancaster.

Spare Time

Days are long, and life is expensive but from 5:30 when you are off the clock, you want to make the most of your free time! AND WEEKENDS – Never have I ever treasured my weekends more in my entire life! At the start of my placement I spent nights and weekends sleeping and having Netflix and pizza days in bed (which I still have don’t get me wrong) but I need to keep my mind and body active to ensure I maintain a good mental health, so I plan to see some friends, or go to a dance class or join a netball league! It is important to stay active and make some friends if there are non-down here with you. Without it or them London can be a pretty lonely place!

Home/Uni Sick

As I mentioned above, London can be a pretty lonely place, and can seem even lonelier when all your friends are still at uni having all the daily fun you are used to having, but you sit and watch it all through Social Media instead (we all love social media but it really can have its downsides can’t it ey?). My family have also booked a holiday, which I’m not sure if I can join, because of my work’s holiday allowance. It’s hard to manage, but it is a challenge I am glad to be battling through! Living this far away from home is a new experience for me, and one which is teaching me new things each and every day. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

I am having the most amazing time on my placement, facing new challenges every day and continuously learning about the working world. The factors I have mentioned above are ‘obstacles’ I face every day, ones that I didn’t even consider before moving down and starting my job!