“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr Seuss
(THIS IS A CHATTY ONE, GRAB A CUP OF TEA!)
I’ve had a pretty busy (and stressful) couple of weeks; after 2 weeks of no lectures and reading week, second semester is now in full swing. As well as starting my new modules – which, for the record, I am loving so far – I’ve been searching for a second year house with my friends, not the most exciting of processes. And before you ask – we got one sorted this week! One thing off the ‘to-do’ list.
With my second half of first year well on its way, it seems like an appropriate time to reflect on my first semester of university.
The Not-So-Good Parts
A Rocky Start – Before I even started in Worcester in September, I made a big decision. I changed universities. I was originally going to be attending Bath Spa University, but for a lot of personal (and financial) reasons, I changed my mind. I had a big panic and a terrible night’s sleep before making what felt like hundreds of phone calls to make this happen. I still don’t know how I did it. But, trust me, I’m over the moon that I did.
As well as this, I had to struggle through the accommodation process later than everyone else, meaning that I was commuting for Welcome Week and the first few lectures while they found a space for me. I felt very isolated, stuck in the middle of leaving for uni and not quite making it. I was eventually put into a flat in the city, where I encountered a lot of problems which made me question whether being at uni was even worth it. After a lot of tears and support from my boyfriend, I went to the accommodation team and found somewhere new. My family was on holiday at the time, so I moved to the new place with the help of a lovely guy from Campus Services and phoned my mum that night to tell her I’d moved. Oops.
I’m now in a postgraduate house, 2 minutes from campus, with another first year student and 3 post grads. I love it. It’s calmer and kinder than where I was before; I underestimated how much of a house and home person I am.
New Style of Work – When I first started some of my first semester modules, I wasn’t sure how I would get on. I did well in Sixth Form (after pushing myself a lot in Year 13, lots of tears then too!) and didn’t want to let myself down now. I know first year doesn’t necessarily count towards your final degree, but I’m a perfectionist and I want to do my best. So, there was obvious fear when handing in my first written assignment, and a lot of pressure when we did our first group practical. So many hours had gone in to that one, and I was petrified it wouldn’t pay off. After a lot of stress, we got an A – I was so ridiculously proud. Adjusting to uni isn’t easy, and the work wasn’t any different to begin with. Yes, I had lectures that I preferred to others, but that is to be expected. That said, I think (/hope) that maybe I’m starting to find my feet.
The Good Parts
New People – If there is one thing that has helped me this last semester, it is some of the people that I’ve met. The first night I came to Worcester, a group of strangers and friends combined shared Dominos – it was my favourite kind of first night. I’ve made some friends in the last 6 months that make me laugh more than people I’ve known for years. People that I wouldn’t have even crossed paths with; it is funny how life throws people at you. There’s people that I know I can have a chilled movie night with, people that I definitely want to work with over the course of my degree, because of their work ethic and focus. There’s lecturers that I had to warm to, but I now have a lot of respect for. There’s the housemates that I have now that I class as close friends; I never thought I’d have that. That’s the thing about uni. You’re never done meeting people. And your first opinion of someone may change immensely. Shoutout to everyone that has been friendly and funny and lovely. You’re very much appreciated.
So Many Opportunities – Everyone always tells you how you’ll be able to try so many new things and make memories at university. Personally, I’m not into clubbing and drinking all the time, so for me, the most important opportunities have come in the form of theatre. I’ve been to theatre with my course, to the RSC to see Behn’s The Rover and Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as well as with my friends to see an amateur performance of Legally Blonde and the professional UK tour of Rent. As well as this, I performed in the pantomime put on by the Musical Theatre Society, where I was a dance captain, something that definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone; I’ve never seen myself as a dancer. I’ve also decided to start this blog, which is something I wouldn’t have done before, for fear of people laughing. Uni has made me realise PEOPLE. DON’T. CARE. Just be yourself and do whatever you want to. Join a society, start a new hobby, have fun.
Independence – I’ve always seen myself as so independent. I worked 2 jobs whilst studying for my A Levels, always cooked for myself, could work a washing machine (even if I didn’t very often, thank you Mother) and saved a lot of money, which was sensible. But moving away from home is an entirely different thing. You have to think about your food shop, your washing and how much money you have to budget, all while starting your degree and embracing a new lifestyle in uni. It’s a balancing act at first, but it’s completely manageable. In a weird way, I enjoy sorting myself out like this. One of my favourite things about this independence is cooking; I’ve got the freedom to try new meals and experiment with cooking. I love this. After the christmas holidays at home, I was itching to start cooking for myself at uni again. It’s funny how you take these things for granted until you’re forced into them.
What I’ve Learned
You’re Stronger Than You Think – I’ve learned that I am so resilient. If you’d told me back in Sixth Form all of the things that I would encounter when I started first semester, I would’ve decided not to go. I think Gap Years can be completely perfect for some people, but now I’ve been in Worcester for 6 months, I know that uni is the right choice for me right now. It took a lot of focus and strength to keep going when everything felt like it was going wrong for me, and I’m so glad I had the support I had, but I’m also proud of myself for the fact I’ve come out of the other side of it all.
People Change – I’ve changed. I’m completely different to how I was a year ago, or even 6 months ago. I’m still a stress head, a perfectionist and a complete idiot sometimes. But I’ve grown up. I don’t feel like a naive 18 year old, not knowing what uni will bring. I’ve looked after myself these past few months. I appreciate home a lot more now, and the quietness of a small town. I’ve signed a housing contract. I do my own washing. I’m not afraid to read, to write, to bake, to experiment with all my interests.
Other people also change. People don’t keep in touch. People grow apart. You become closer to people who were only strangers or acquaintances before. I struggled with this at first but it’s okay. It’s a part of life. I know who I need in my life, and who I don’t.
Where Do I Go From Here?
Have you had any new starts recently?