Leaving university: 5 lessons for my fresher self
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Four years ago, I made the daunting step many of us take when we choose to leave the safe comfort of our parents' home and take on university life.
Image credit: Oregon State University of Flickr
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 self, there are so many things I wish I could tell her - things that would have helped me during those scary first few weeks and months. So, I gathered all my fourth year friends to put together a list of things we wish we knew before coming to university.
1. Making real friends is hardly ever instant
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 you will probably spend the rest of your university life glued together 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 take time to develop into becoming the ones 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
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It's a Friday night. You're sitting on your bed scrolling through Instagram 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 think. All of a sudden you feel like you're not living university life the way you're ‘supposed to’.
But listen: 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 thar they weren't enjoying themselves as much as their social feeds suggested. Everyone copes with university life in different ways, and 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, whilst you can
Whilst 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 in this new unfamiliar books and endless reading 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. Enjoy your friends being nearby
One of the best things about university is living so close to your uni pals. If they're not your flatmate, down the corridor in your halls or a 15-minute walk away, they're at least in the same city as you! So 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 now and then, 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 just pop over for a cup of tea whenever I miss them.
5. 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 only have a few weeks left. University puts you through a lot of emotions and teaches you many lessons. You can experience everything from joy to stress, fatigue, and despair; all while learning to budget £2.30 for a whole week. Despite all this, your university days might very well become 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 your graduation knowing you've lived your university experience to the fullest.Lead image credit: Oregon State University of Flickr