Life Experience, University

A Guide for Freshers

I’ve just spent the last couple of days entertaining my baby sister who came to stay with me in York and it’s been great – we’ve done loads of shopping, eaten some quality food, watched a film or two and had some worthy discussions. Except, she’s not my baby sister anymore. She’s 19 and about to go to uni in two weeks in Liverpool. That’s far.. It got me thinking about how scared I was before I went to uni and how many emotional breakdowns I had before I even got there. It’s a really, really stressful and daunting experience and I’m afraid that there’s no one out there who can tell you what it’s going to be like. No one has the exact same experience at university and unfortunately there isn’t a rule book or a guide telling you what’s going to happen or what to do. What I have managed, however (and I’ll be passing this onto Mols) is a vague guide of what to generally expect and what opportunities to jump at. This is the director’s cut of the original list that I ended up writing:

  • Always carry an umbrella and some change
  • If you have a 3 hour class at 4pm, take a can of energy drink – you’ll really need it
  • Sometimes you’ll be in the library til it closes (or until the sun rises if it’s 24 hour) and that’s okay, you’ll feel great
  • Get to know at least one tutor well
  • Absolutely no one cares how you are dressed in lectures
  • Sometimes the syllabus says you need to buy a textbook and the tutor says you don’t – check before you buy! (also, it’s probz in the library)
  • Having a 2am – 11am sleep schedule is okay
  • Don’t take drinks from random people
  • Take notes by hand – it sinks in better
  • Always keep an emergency stash of loo roll in your room for your use only
  • Jump at every opportunity to do something fun – don’t leave yourself out, you deserve the fun
  • Go to every event with free food
  • Stay up talking til the sun rises
  • Take lots of pictures
  • Be yourself

I know there’s lots of people around the country, around the world at this moment still shopping for uni supplies, still stressing about making friends and I wish I could tell you exactly how it’s going to pan out, but you are the only person who can take this journey and you will be the only person who affects your university experience at first. When friends come along, things change and you’ll watch each other develop into functional adults (even though it doesn’t feel like it).

I sometimes wish I could start university all over again, but when I remember how much I was dreading it and how scared I was, I’m glad I’ve already done that. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world, though. University has made me who I am and has given me the friends that I need. Best decision I ever made to go, hands down.

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Life Experience

How to live with friends and not kill each other

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Living with other people is hard. Nevermind being told you can’t go out to that party or have that last bar of chocolate by your mum and dad, or when to go to bed; it’s hard living with other adults. Like everything in this world there are positives and negatives and living with your friends when you’re grown up is an all round positive. What’s most difficult about living with others are the little niggles that you experience every day.

Each and every one of us is different and it’s impossible to be best friends with everyone all of the time. People are annoying, it’s a fact of life, you’re going to get pissed off with your housemates / flatmates / roommates so what I’ve devised is a little tip list of how to deal with those pesky situations that are otherwise awkward and on the edge of becoming dramatic if the right thing doesn’t happen.

1. Passive aggression does not work.

The toilet roll hasn’t been replaced, the washing up hasn’t been done, someone keeps their shoes in the middle of the kitchen – it makes your blood boil and you stand there seething in your own fury for around five minutes. You think ‘Ohh I’ll tell ’em this time! This isn’t right!’ And you write a very specifically worded note and stick it on the fridge, or the bathroom mirror, wherever it’s relevant. Uh-oh. This isn’t the way to go, friends. There are two outcomes of leaving passive aggressive notes; 1) the person in question won’t even notice and things won’t change or 2) you’ll piss them off and you’ll fall out in silence and awkwardly. It’s not ideal. If it’s really a huge problem to your existence in the house, tell them; they’ll probably appreciate your honesty and you won’t get mad at each other. But if it’s really not that bad, do you feel you can let it go? Just stop, take a deep breath and remember that everyone was brought up differently and has different habits.

2. Calm down at 11pm

Unless you’re all drinking and going out, partying the night away, it’s always a good idea to start to wind down at 11pm. People up early for work know that others aren’t and are generally accepting of shenanigans until about 11, because then it gets a bit late and silly (think about the neighbours too, arguments like that aren’t worth it!). You’ve got to remember that everyone has their own commitments, so whether that’s going to work at 6am or getting up for a 9am lecture, it’s only fair if everyone respects each other’s sleep. Happy sleep = happy life.

3. Hang out together

Living with people means that you’re sometimes under each other’s feet and all you want to do is spend time by yourself to get some peace and quiet. Me time is great, but it’s also important to hang out with each other and remind yourselves that you are indeed friends. If all you talk about is household chores and bills and she didn’t do this and he didn’t do that, it’s easy to forget the good times. Go to the local pub, go out for a meal together, even cook a meal together and then watch a movie. Just spend time together rather than existing around each other.

4. Celebrate and praise each other

This goes for birthdays, promotions, good grades, getting out of bed, anything! Particularly birthdays because the responsibility has been passed from their parents onto you. It’s your job to show them that their birthday matters, so stick up some banners and get them a card and present; it’s important for people to feel remembered and appreciated. And if someone gets promoted, go out and buy them a pint! You want to show everyone that you care about their achievements because you’re all in this together – being young is really hard.

Sharing a house with other people as we’ve seen from Friends and other such popular entertainment, is one of the best things you can do. To have your best friends on tap is something special that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s also one of the hardest things to do because everyone is so different and has known different ways of living. But it’s an experience to learn how other people live and it more often than not benefits you as a person. Just, the biggest rule of all is, don’t be a jerk. Remember that you’re all friends and keep your relationships alive by spending good quality time together and it’ll be a breeze.

Life Experience, University, World

You’re my bestest friend….but only on this street

I’ve just been pegging out the washing, being the amazing housewife-in-training that I am (it would seem -_-) and there were two kids playing outside on the back street, probably about 6 years old. Ah, takes me back. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t a 20 year old undergraduate, but that’s something for a different post. They were riding bikes and stopped just outside our garden wall and the girl turned to the boy and said in the most sincere way, “Did you know I started the fashion of long hair?” It was all I could do to not giggle, it was adorable. I even thought of writing a status about it on Facebook, but then I thought I could dig something out of it that would suit a WordPress post.

Congratulations if you’ve read this far 😉 The boy didn’t reply to her, so I thought the conversation was done with, and I went back inside to get more washing. When I came back out they were talking again but the boy said, “You know you’re my bestest friend, only on this street.” She replied with, “Including Tony?” and his response was, “Yes, my dear, including Tony.” Okay, I may have embroidered that last one a little, they’re from Yorkshire, they’re not going to be that posh. And it just made me want to jump in a time machine and head back to when I was six and I knew exactly who my friends were and who I wasn’t so much friends with. This year has been particularly notorious for struggling with various types of relationships and I just thought ‘Why can’t it be as simple and innocent as back then when you didn’t have any emotions in particular that could affect your life?’ The biggest decision is whether to have Skittles or Maltesers and whether to wear your pink t shirt with  a unicorn on it or the orange dress that your Nana thinks you look simply adorable in.

I do love my friends though and everybody that’s in my life. Everybody is so important to me in their own different way and I wouldn’t change any of them. Which is why I’ve now decided that I don’t actually want to go back. Relationships are complicated because each person is so vastly different to the next, even if they are the best of friends. All I want now is for uni to last forever *sob sob*.

Love your friends.

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