Life Experience

I miss…

A video showed up in my Facebook notifications from nearly four years ago, back when I was in first year at university. Even though I’m only in touch with two out of the eight or nine people in that 30 second video, I miss a lot about that year.

It was a difficult year, though, with an awful lot of wasted effort and hard work on relationships, romantic or otherwise, that turned into nothing. It was a year that taught me about people, and how to deal with different personalities, whether they clashed with mine or not. That year taught me how to love someone and how to deal with their absence and the way they crushed out relationships. It also taught me that not everyone is truthful and that people are quite capable of being hurtful without too much of a conscience to hold them back.

What I miss, however, is spending time with different people every day, not knowing who would rock up that evening or who you’d be staying up late with, sharing secrets and chatting about anything and everything. I miss the ridiculous fancy dress outfits and (in a weird way) the drama that surrounded daily life. It’s an interesting psychological challenge to try to suss people out.

I miss going to lectures and learning new things, I miss going to different people’s houses/flats for dinner and I miss going out at least twice a week to let down my hair and party with whoever I was friends with at the time.

I’m an entirely different person to who I was in first year, in 2011/12. Anybody that I knew then, you probably don’t know me now and there’s a chance that we would get on now after we’ve all changed through the last three to four years. Many times, I think about reaching out to those I lost touch with, but then remember it’s probably not worth it. This time in four years I will likely miss the peace of living with friends and the freedom of not having a proper career. Who knows where I’ll be, or even who I’ll be.

So for anybody just starting out at university in their first year, treasure it. You might find it hard, you might find your best friends, you might even find yourself, but take lots of pictures and make lots of memories. Just enjoy the feelings of knowing anyone in the world can impact on your life at this very moment.

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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.