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.

Entertainment, Misc., Music

Proud Big Sister

There are two different types of pride: in what you do and what others do. Tonight, I saw the last show of the amateur production Oliver Twist in which my very own little sister played Nancy. And proud doesn’t describe it. I cried – that’s not something I do at film, TV or theatre, but there I was, tears trickling down my cheeks as Molly sang her last song of the show ‘As long as he loves me, reprise’. I’ve seen her perform before, at school music concerts and in a pantomime, but this was something else. Playing the leading lady in a world famous musical is a prestigious honour, and Molly, you rocked it. I’ve never really given much interest to this musical, never really came across it, never thought about watching it, but I’ve loved every second of it. I fell in love with the story and the characters and the music. Just everything. 

Molly, just want to say that I’ve never felt prouder. I’ve never felt uncontrollable crying and emotion at a piece of fiction, but your voice and your performance are beautiful. I’m proud to be your big sister, your best friend and everything else in between. I knew you had it in you since you were little when we were making those really lame videos together; you always outshone me when we sung to the massive old camcorder in your bedroom. I am 100% sure that you’re going to go far and become a massive star on the stage (or screen, whatever fits you!) and I’ll be there every step of the way. Through your highs, your lows and all the bits in the middle, I’ll be there whether you like it or not. I’ll be really sad when you go off to uni and won’t be at home every time I go back, but you’ll get the most out of it you can ever imagine and I want you to live it to the fullest. Just remember, I’ll be in York or home waiting.

Proud, soppy and emotional, this is one 22 year old who has a star for a sister.