Like everyone who blogs, I freaking love Autumn. I love the crisp air, Autumn colours, leaf strewn dog walks, hot chocolate, apple pies etc.
It also reminds me of starting a new term and studies. I definitely miss buying all the new stationary!
So to kick off Autumn I thought I’d reminisce a little about my first year at university and the most important lessons I learned (don’t worry I won’t bore you with my thoughts on The First Crusade and Henry VIII, I can’t even remember the other modules I took that year!).
Get ready for some embarrassing uni pictures from 6 years ago!
When I was applying to uni I was mainly thinking about what I wanted to study and all the work I’d get done rather than the social side of it all. When I was 18 I was really quiet, I had my little close knit group of friends who I’d known for years and had never been in a situation where I actually didn’t know anyone. I remember feeling really overwhelmed, I wasn’t moving away as I went to the Uni in my home city, but almost all of my friends were moving away all over the country. I was also newly single which definitely made me more nervous and insecure. At the time I was really upset about the break up but it was definitely the right decision and I think trying to stop myself being upset about it and seem confident actually made me a more confident person.
I did make the decision to live in halls for my first year, I was a bit nervous about this but I am so glad I did it! It made me push myself and get myself out there to meet new people. If I had stayed at home I know I wouldn’t have put in the effort to meet new people and be involved, I would have just gone to my lectures and gone home. My brother went to the same uni as me and lived at home for the first year and this suited him fine (he also saved more money than me!)
The people I lived with were nothing like my usual friend group but evere all got on so well and looked out for each other throughout freshers even though we all found our own friendship groups in those two weeks. Uni definitely makes you a more tolerant person. We realised that one of our housemates never put the bin out so in protest we actually went a couple weeks without putting the bin out in the hope she’d get the picture. In our block the bins were downstairs in their own own room so we were left with a pile of bin bags in our kitchen. This was disgusting but did end in a hilarious tantrum, but that was that one and only time she put the bin out.
You will hear your flatmates having sex at least once. One terrible night I actually woke up as my bed was shaking. My bed was fixed to one side of the wall and my flatmates was fixed to the other. Not only could I hear them, but I could feel them have sex 😷 I had to get up and sit at my desk with headphones in until it was over. Yep.
Freshers seemed like the longest time! I surprised myself by going out almost every night of the two weeks and basically living my best life. For someone who had never been to a club before I had a ball. I danced, I drank, I met new people, I was an entirely new person.
I definitely recommend putting yourself out there and at least trying out some of the freshers events, even if you don’t do the big nights out we had quiz nights and things too.
We went out at least 3 times a week in first year. We also went to the same 3 clubs every week. First year is the only year you will go out this often, it is definitely the year to socialise.
I mean I recognise maybe 5 people from this picture:
So many themed nights…
Like I said I was most excited about studying and learning new things. Although your grades in first year don’t count too much towards your degree they do still count. I was so organised in my first year, I read all the required reading and most of the suggested reading. As a History student I only had 10 hours of lectures a week so the rest was all self led study. The more reading you do around your subject definitely increases your enjoyment of the subject, even if you can get by with the bear minimum effort.
Keeping in touch with your friends
This is a time you’ll learn who will be your friends for life. I kept in touch with a few friends during the term, a couple dropped out early so I spoke to them a lot as they arrived back home. A few I didn’t hear from again which was fine too. When everyone was back during the holidays it was always just like it had always been and my main group of friends is still the same to this day. I also recently got back in touch with a friend I grew apart from during uni which has been so lovely. Some friendships will always be and some will end or fluctuate and that’s not a bad thing especially as you meet so many new people throughout your time at uni, some of whom may also become new friends for life.
Having a job
I was the only person I knew who had job during my first year. I only worked on the weekend and it took me an hour to get there on the train so it didn’t earn me much but keeping it on did benefit me in the long run. I kept working there for the three years and worked seasonally through the summer and was offered a full time job as soon as I finished my third year. Having a job definitely kept me grounded and gave me more independence later as I wasn’t relying on hand outs from my parents to live.
Going to university was a brilliant experience and shaped who I am today. It made me more confident in myself and my abilities as well as more outgoing when meeting new people. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, 2 of my friends dropped out of uni in their first year to rejoin the next year closer to home, one friend dropped out and did an apprenticeship and now earns more than all of us! It was life changing experience for me but it isn’t the be all and end all.