Looking Back: The Things We Wish We Knew in First Year
by Lois Mackenzie
Four years ago, I made the daunting step many of us take when we choose to leave the safe comfort of our parents’ house and take on University life. As soon as you arrive in your new city, you are thrown into a myriad of new experiences and challenges. Looking back at my bright eyed and bushytailed self, there are so many things I wish I could tell my young fresher self, things that would have helped me during those scary first few weeks and months. So, I gathered all my friends in fourth year to put together a list of things we wish we knew before coming to university.
1. Making friends
Finding your new, inseparable clique isn’t always as instant as the college movies make it seem. Yes, some of you will move into halls with people you feel you were destined to meet and will spend the rest of university life glued at the hip. But for the majority of us it doesn’t come that easily. And that’s okay! If you haven’t made best friends for life after your first week of university, you haven’t done anything wrong, in fact you’re pretty damn normal. Real friendships can take some time to develop and become the best friends you’ll have in your life forever. In the meantime, throw yourself into the many extracurricular clubs your university has, find something you really enjoy and finding friends will happen naturally.
2. It’s okay not to fit in
It’s a Friday night. You’re sitting on your bed scrolling through Facebook and you see photos of that girl you met a few weeks ago, ‘She’s at another party. She must have loads of friends’. You start to feel like you’re not living university life the way you’re “supposed to”.
It’s okay if you don’t want to go to the party, it’s okay if you’re feeling overwhelmed and you need to take time out for yourself. Never feel pressured into the need to do the same things as everyone else. You often find when you speak to these people later on in your university life that they weren’t enjoying themselves as much as their Facebook let on. Everyone copes with university life in different ways, you don’t have to do the same things as everyone else just so you can feel like you fit in. Take care of YOU.
3. Have fun while you can
While deadlines and studying are important, it’s easy to get yourself overwhelmed when you’re adjusting to your new workload. First year can be the worst year for some as you’re drowned with this new workload and books of reading to do every week. Find yourself a good rhythm, and don’t forget to take time off and relax too! Trust me, make the most of your free time while you still have it…
4. Make the most of your friends being nearby
One of the best things about university is living so close to your uni pals. If they’re not your flat mate, down the corridor in your halls or a 15-minute walk away, they’re at least in the same city as you! Make the most of living so close to each other!! Go for a cup of tea and a gossip when you can, cook dinner for each other, and just appreciate the ease of your friendship. One of the hardest things about graduating is preparing for my friends to be hundreds of miles away and knowing I can’t pop over for a cup of tea whenever I miss them.
5. And lastly, it’ll be over before you know it so enjoy it!
Looking back on my first days of university, I can hardly believe that my four years have just a few days left. University puts you through a hell of a lot of emotions. You can experience everything from joy, stress, fatigue, despair and learn how to budget £2.30 to last a whole week. Despite all this, your university days truly are the best of your life and they are numbered – so enjoy them while you can! Make sure you do everything you want to, take every photo of campus you want, and make sure you get to fourth year knowing you’ve lived your university experience to the max.