The radio silence on the blog front wasn’t exactly planned; I had a whole September plan for posts, shoots and everything in between, but then life got in the way and sometimes you just need to do nothing. I thought that to get back into blogging I would write about my university first year reflections – I know that lots of people are heading off into first year and I am actually moving back to halls today (a week later than planned), but I wanted to give people an ides of what to expect from their first year, and how to combat the ‘it doesn’t count’ syndrome.
It Doesn’t Count
I was bombarded with people telling me that first year doesn’t count and that I should make the most of it while it lasted. I’ll admit by the time winter came I was definitely ready to stay in bed all day and skip every lecture, and my Monday 9am was the first to go. (I still got 72% in that module so it clearly wasn’t too detrimental.) I found my first year to be a repeat of my English Language A Level, so even when I did show up, I often found myself on Facebook instead of copying down notes. However, while there were certain modules I was more than happy to skip, the goody two shoes in me put a limit on how many I actually skipped. If you’re finding it too easy to ‘oversleep’ think about it like this: I pay £9250 a year for university. I have 8 contact hours a week. There are 24 weeks in the year that I am actually timetabled. It works out at around £48 per lecture that I’m wasting if I don’t go, it soon adds up. So when your sports team ask you to skip a few lectures to play matches, of course you can skip a few, just don’t go missing weeks at a time – from experience you start to feel guilty when you miss too many.
It Can Be Lonely
My degree has quite a few more self study hours than sciencey degrees, and it can be lonely. I found myself spending hours in my room alone watching Netflix, and it gets lonely. For someone who doesn’t really drink or go out and party, I would say I didn’t have the uni experience that every movie tends to depict – but that’s okay. Luckily for me two of my flatmates have become really close friends of mine, I’m actually staying in halls again with one, while the other is a few floors up. I also am a keen hockey player so have made quite a few friends through playing, one of those being the amazing Sacha – who I got into blogging late last year.
You NEED to Make Your Room Homely
For someone who prefers to study from the comfort of her own room than go to the library, making my room a nice space was of great importance. If you live in a halls of residence you do get the real basics: a bed, desk, chair and pin board. They don’t allow you to redecorate like the viral rooms you see from American students but you can certainly add a few homely touches. I’m planning to do a whole post on making your uni room more ‘you’ in the coming weeks (check the university tag!) but for now here are a few things I have to have: fairy lights, don’t go for loads of Primark singles get a long string that plugs in from Amazon, I bought these ones. Cute bedding is a must and ASDA are absolutely killing it right now, I have my eye on this constellation set, it’s quite dark and wintery. Finally, bring things that remind you of home, photos, a teddy bear, anything that will make you less homesick.
Join as Many Societies as Possible
This is one that everyone will shout at you, you need to go to the Bunfight aka the society fair and sign up to everything. (Okay maybe not everything, but everything you are even slightly interested in.) Most sports societies will offer free trial sessions so you can see if it’s really something you want to do. Last year I only joined hockey, as my course didn’t really have a society of its own. This year I want to look into trampolining as I used to trampoline and really enjoy myself, also I love the idea of learning BSL and some sort of martial art. The more societies you join, the more people you meet, which is good if your course only consists of 6 people…
You Will Want to Move Back
Something that shocked me slightly, as I am quite a homebody and love being around family, is that about 2 months into summer I could have quite happily moved back to uni. It really surprised myself as the first few months were quite difficult for me, and then due to strikes I found myself returning home quite often, but I was almost counting the days until I’m back. Uni life is so different to home life, your friends are five steps away and there’s always someone to talk to and always something going on. Living almost on your own is actually quite enjoyable as well, you have your own space, your own menu, and (if you’re lucky) your own bathroom – which is the dream!
There are a few things I will do differently this year. For example I spent too much time in my room; if I wasn’t at lectures or hockey practise, I was in my room. I ate, slept, studied, basically I did everything in my room. This year I need to get out more, I am very aware. I plan to try to eat all my meals, unless I’m on the go or it’s exam season, in my kitchen. It’s just somewhere else to spend time and I enjoy chatting to my flatmates. I also will try to use the gym at the bottom of my building because I partially pay for access through my rent, but also it helps me refocus my mind if I blast music and run for half an hour. The last thing I want to change is where I study and copy up notes. There is a Starbucks less than five minutes away and there’s nothing wrong with visiting every couple of weeks to write up some notes or read a book. There’s also a common room area by the gym where I can do some work too, hopefully this will split my time in my room up a little. And on those days I do study in my room, I’m not doing it in bed – I have a desk for a reason! I could work in the library, but it’s not an environment I thrive in sadly.
I think everyone has a different university experience, as you can see my university first year reflections are going to be rather different to someone who loves partying. After a rather rocky start I do think I found my place and I’m beginning to really enjoy myself, even if this year counts. Now I’ve found my place I feel able to share with you more of my uni journey and I have about five posts in the works so far!