My first year of university has felt like a blur it’s gone by so quickly. Life as a fresher is officially over and I’m feel nostalgic and also kind of scared at how fast it went. The thought of facing second year soon when it all suddenly gets a lot more serious makes me want to start over as a fresher again. There’s definitely been some low points with a fair few drunken, and also sober, tears, but overwhelmingly my uni experience so far has been the happiest year of my life, as cheesy as that may sound.
For me, uni felt like a place where I really fitted in with the people around me. It lets you completely start over in a city where you potentially might know nobody, which definitely scared me in the beginning, but actually allowed me to be more myself than I ever was growing up.
Uni throws together such a range of people from different walks of life and you go through so much together which has allowed me to meet some amazing friends that I may not have normally met without uni. While I have met a few people that have taught me lessons about who I want to surround myself with, the vast majority are people I love spending time with and after all, they say it’s the people that make the place which I’ve definitely found to be true.
It’s funny how close you get to people when you’re stuck living with them and seeing them most days for a year. For a person that has had the same group of friends for a long time, one of my biggest worries was making new friends. This actually turned out to be something that I really didn’t need to worry about at all.
Most people come to uni without knowing many or any other people there, so it’s not like back in school where there’s pre-existing groups or cliques that you’re trying to get into, everything just formed naturally without me stressing about how to find people to be friends with.
I’ve heard people say before that they don’t see the point of uni other than just getting a degree, but my uni experience has helped me grow so much and learn a lot about myself. Some people have a view of uni students just going out and partying all the time, but the whole social side of uni has made me come out of my shell so much and help my confidence. Although I’m by no means completely there yet, I’ve definitely overcome a lot of insecurities and stopped worrying so much about unnecessary things because of uni.
Even things that may seem simple like speaking to new people, organising yourself, and learning to cook are things I wouldn’t have improved if I hadn’t been forced into a situation where I was completely responsible for myself.
My early uni experience taught me that after living on freezer meals for the first few weeks, I realised I needed to start actually learning how to cook properly and not just switching the oven on, throwing something in and calling it cooking.
Living without your parents is actually easier than you think, yeah it can be a bit of a shock to the system when you first get there, but you figure everything out in the end even if you have to make a couple, okay a lot, of mistakes first.
Yes, there can be times where living away from home can be hard, but during my uni experience I rarely got homesick so I only really missed the comforts of home when I was run down or feeling ill. But having your friends literally only a couple of minutes or a corridor away definitely made living away from home so much easier. Compared to growing up living in the countryside away from a lot of my friends, it was nice to be able to have company whenever you wanted it.
You have this new sense of freedom at university, you feel completely independent and able to do whatever you want, whenever you want. By the point I was about to leave for uni, I definitely felt ready to move away from home and have my own independence and I think that being thrown into the deep end of having freedom teaches you a lot.
Managing your own money completely by yourself was a big change, and one that I’m definitely still working on since budgeting isn’t quite part of my everyday routine yet, but I’ll get there, maybe by the end of second year I’ll figure it out, I hope.
Since you’re essentially there to get a degree, I should probably mention that part too. While I don’t think it’s the best part about uni life, I do love being able to just do the subject I enjoy rather than having to do a few that you’re not that interested in. I definitely still felt a lot of stress, mainly because I’m a bit of a stress head, but doing a subject I really enjoy helped make doing the work easier because you’re learning about a subject that interests you the most.
One of the things I did find hard at uni was staying organised and motivated to put the work in throughout the year and not leave it all to a month before my exams. I know first year results don’t count towards your final grade, but I still wanted to prove to myself more than anything that I could get a good grade so that a bit of pressure would be taken off me next year because I’d know how much revision I needed to do.
My first year of uni experience showed me that the way of learning is so different at uni to school because it’s much more independent, which I eventually figured out how to do and ended up doing a lot better than I thought.
So, at the end of first year my sleeping pattern was a mess and so was my diet but the uni experience I went through and the situations I faced really shaped who I am right now. I know it sounds like an exaggeration to say that uni has changed me but I’ve honestly learnt so much and felt like I’ve become a better person because of it all.
So, here’s hoping that second year will continue to help me grow into the person I want to be and hopefully teach me to handle my money a bit better so my bank account doesn’t look so sad at the end of each term!
Do you think university has changed you in any way?
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