With my first year of uni finished, I’m now at the stage where I’m still trying to get over the sheer chaos of exams (let me tell you, it was VERY stressful) and I’m also coming to the point where I feel it’s actually time to find myself a summer job as watching back to back episodes of Prison Break probably isn’t the best way to spend my summer holidays. But whilst I ponder around at this stage, I thought it would be a good idea to write a post about my first year at university, what I learnt and what I wish someone had told me.
Having taken a gap year before heading off to uni, I watched a lot of my friends go the year before me, which worked in my favour as I could see what it was like for them and they could give me a heads up on what to expect. By the end of September my Facebook feed was filled with pictures of my friends at uni, followed by tweets about how great it was and how drunk they had been the night before – as you can imagine, this filled me with excitement and I couldn’t wait to head off the following year.
Right now, I can’t quite believe that my first year is over, when people tell you it goes quickly so make the most of it, they aren’t lying. It honestly feels like a few days ago that I headed down to Bournemouth with a car full of stuff ready to embark on a new adventure. From my experience, what people fail to tell you about freshers week is that it can actually be pretty lonely at times, despite the fact that everyone else is in your position. Don’t get me wrong, of course I loved going out every night for a fortnight and making lots of new friends but it’s normal to feel a bit uneasy with a sudden change in your life.
When Christmas time arrived and it was time to go home for a month I couldn’t believe how much my life had changed in the space of three months. At uni I was independent, I didn’t have my parents there to change my sheets, cook my dinner and make sure I was up in time in the morning. I had always noticed how a lot of my friends had changed at uni, people grow up and I even noticed this change in myself. As much as I loved being home over Christmas to have my parents cook dinner for me and catch up with everyone, I did secretly miss the independence of living on own, there was no one to tell me what I could and couldn’t do.
Something else I wished someone had told me is that it is hard work. If you are heading to uni in September I’m sure you have heard lots of people tell you that ‘first year doesn’t count’ and that ‘you don’t need to work hard to pass the year’ and yes they are right, your grade in the first year doesn’t count towards your degree but you do need 40% to get through to second year and getting that is harder than you would think. I would also say turn up to as many lectures as you can (unless you really are dying from too much vodka the previous night) as many of my friends at uni didn’t go to the lectures and really struggled over exams when they had no idea what they needed to know. Plus – you are paying £9000 a year for it!!
But on reflection, it has honestly been one of the best years of my life, yes it has been really hard work and at times you do get homesick but all the amazing things you will get up to outweigh the bad stuff . My main advice to anyone heading to university in September is to say yes to more (who cares if you have a 9am start – go out with everyone), make an effort to make lots of new friends, but equally keep in touch with your friends at home because they are the people who have been there for you throughout your life and who you will be coming back to in the holidays. Definitely join at least one society (I joined baking and surfing) and embrace the change in your life, some of you will gain some weight and others will lose some but this isn’t permanent and you are also not the only one. I should also add, take full advantage of the luxuries you have at home while you can because I definitely do not enjoy eating 20p noodles for dinner..
Most importantly, have fun and take loads of pictures. Try to eat a vegetable every once in a while, your body will thank you for it!