Friday, 2 June 2017

First Year, Over and Out!

Well.. it's been a while! Since I last wrote so much has happened, mainly that I have finished my first year at university- woohoo! Things have been really busy in the last few months and something had to give, so unfortunately this blog fell by the wayside. I'm hoping to revive it in the coming weeks and months while i'm back at home, but in the meantime, here are a few things I've learnt during my first year!

1. Stay true to the things you enjoy

Coming to uni and not knowing anyone can seem a daunting task, and there can be a lot of pressure to fit in with everyone else and it can be all too easy to miss out on the things you really want to do because of this. However, it's so important to make sure you still go to events and join societies that you are genuinely interested in even if you don't know anyone- people tend to take part in the things they enjoy the most, and so you're most likely to meet similar people if you do the same.

2. You won't always have the time of your life

When I used to tell people that I was planning to go to university, they tended to reply with an anecdote of their time at uni, finishing with a statement along the lines of  'University is the best time of your life!', and I totally believed them. What people don't often explain is that yes, some of uni is having a great time, meeting new friends, dancing the night away and finally getting to focus on a subject that you're actually interested in, but a lot of it isn't. For a start, you're moving away from home for the first time which can be difficult in itself, but coupled with not knowing anyone like you know your friends from home, having to adjust to looking after yourself and having to get used to becoming more self motivated in terms of studying (and also having to reference EVERYTHING), uni can become a time riddled with loneliness, homesickness and stress. The thing to remember is that at some point almost everyone feels like this so you're most definitely not alone. Try not to compare your life to the lives of people posting on Instagram- they may look like they're having a much better time than you, but then again the chances of them posting a picture of themselves having a mental breakdown about their latest piece of coursework over their great night out are fairly low. 

3. Don't worry if you don't LOVE your subject

There are a lot of people at university who seem to completely dedicate themselves to the subject they're studying. For me, seeing people like that, who are reading the books for 3 or 4 weeks in advance outside the lecture theatres made me really question if I was doing the right subject. I love reading and English in general, but I wasn't dedicating my life to it in the way that I saw other people were. It's important to remember that it's impossible to enjoy every single part of what you're studying, especially in the first year when you're covering things more generally, so don't stress if you really hate a particular module. Remember the things you've studied that you have enjoyed and see the ones you don't like as much as a process of elimination- you're finding out how you want to specialise in later years. 

4. Don't go home! 

Well, obviously you have to go home at some point, but try not to overdo it. One good thing about living 500 miles away from home it that I can't easily travel back. I know that if I'd gone to a uni an hour away I'd be home every weekend just because I could. Don't let distance stop you from going somewhere to study a course you're really interested , or to live somewhere new and exciting. The first few weeks will be hard and you will get homesick, but it definitely gets easier with time. Remember, your family is only a phone call away! 

5. Finally, the more you put in, the more you get out

This is one that I've only realised after finishing, and is probably my biggest first year regret. Take every opportunity to immerse yourself in university life, whether this is by joining societies, making new friends or visiting new places. I really wish I'd joined another society or two, especially a sports one, both to meet new people and to make sure I was actually leaving the flat. Obviously, if you really don't feel like doing something, don't do it but make sure you can tell the difference between that and simply not being bothered. Uni is a great chance to try new things, and make sure you take advantage of it! 

On a trip to Shetland!

It's been good reflecting on first year, and I hope you find some of these things helpful! I'm looking forward to starting second year in September, but for the moment I'm enjoying the sunshine and not having to do any revision! I hope you're having a good summer :) 

E x


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