From my experience, there seems to be two different ways that people feel before making the journey to University. The first being, “My parents are doing my head in! I want space and want to get to University as soon as possible”, or the other, which was me, “Can’t you come to University with me, mum and dad? What if I forget to wash? What about if Bubble forgets me? What is everyone hates me!?”. And even though I spent the night before I left crying my eyes out, doubting ever applying in the first place, “I’M NOT GOING, I WILL DIE, I WANT TO STAY AT HOME FOREVER,” I obviously got in the car and made my way to the University of Lincoln. And here I am, 3 years later, looking back at the best decision I ever made.
There is not much I would change about my time at University, but there are a few things that I wish I knew before I began. But not just before beginning University all together, there are things I wish I knew about second and third year too. So I’ve written this blog post to try and make things easier for you if you’re starting University in September, are a first or second year worrying about your next year at University but also, if there’s any of you out there unsure about University is for you to try and prove to you that University is for absolutely everyone.
Firstly, although the movies and tv programmes make out that University is just three years of partying and sleeping, without any outcome, this is obviously not true. You come out from it with a degree, that’s happens to cost you a bomb so you don’t want it to be a degree that you picked because your best friend was doing it too. Pick a course that YOU want to do, a course that will help you move forwards on your career path and a course you think you will still be interested on 3 years down the line. And this applies to your choice of University too, don’t be a fish and follow the flow, go visit some Universities and see what they provide for your course (and check there’s nandos and wagamamas there too). It’s really important to see what the course provides, because even though you will be graduating with a degree of the same title, all Universities have a little bit of a twist to their course. Some may focus on things you prefer, others not as much, so research it.
Once you’ve chosen your course, your University and got the grades necessary you’re not far away from the big move. So eat as much food as you can. Like literally, empty your parents fridges, pantries and drag out the ‘I’m leaving for university lets go out for dinner as it may be my last one’ as much as you can. Because food is not free and food does not cook itself.
“What if my housemates don’t like what I wear?” “What if they laugh at me because I live on a farm?”. When you begin University you’re a stranger to everyone and they’re all strangers to you too. You could, if you wanted, turn up and say you are Beyonce’s cousin, with millionaire parents and I’m sure you’ll have people begging to be your friend. But then what’s nice about that? You’ll have to live these lies for three more years and you’ll have people being friends with you for your assists, (your lies) and not for who you are. It’s so important to be yourself, don’t worry about what people think, you will make friends! It is impossible not to, you’ll be put in halls with housemates and neighbours, you’ll be bombarded with social events in fresher’s week where you will meet hundreds of new people, you’ll meet people on your course, your friends will have friends… you see where I’m going with this. Just don’t forget that everyone else is in the same boat. You’re not the only one there who’s new to the whole experience and who wants to make friends too.
So once you’ve unpacked your stuff and had a tearful goodbye to your family, leave your door open. Whether it’s with a yellow pages, a doorstop or a sock, just leave your door open! Don’t be scared. Knock on everyone’s door, ask everyone if they want to go for a walk and explore your new hometown. And then in a few hours fresher’s will begin, hands down the best week of your life. Considering I can’t even handle two nights in a row, I have no idea how I managed it but I did 8 nights in a row in my fresher’s week and I am so glad I did. You’ve got to go crazy, make friends, don’t be scared, get drunk, get everyone else drunk, do jager trains, take photos, just don’t hold back. And please, don’t stress about lectures and deadlines too much in first year. As long as you pass the year, your grades will not count towards your final degree so your priorities should be getting drunk and making friends and memories.
You need to prepare to share. Even though everyone will arrive with their own washing up liquid, toilet roll and frying pans, when they’re hungover and their pan is dirty they’ll use your pan. When they’re out of toilet roll and aren’t up for popping to Tesco’s hungover they’ll ask to borrow yours. Just go with it, because I’m sure you’ll need a favour from them too. Life’s too short to treasure fairy liquid.
Before I went to University, and even still today, people say “You can’t have fun at University if you’re in a relationship,” and this bit of advice is really important to me. I remember when me and Lewis realised we liked each other and we worried so much about what other people would think, I’d think no one would want to be our friends if we were in a relationship. But me being with Lewis whilst at University has just made things better, we have the same friends, live together with our best mates and have not lost out on anything at all. So if there’s someone you really like at University, don’t hesitate, as after all a boyfriend/girlfriend is just another best friend you gain from University.
In first year you have no choice who you live with, but in second and third year it’s up to you. But don’t stress too much about it. You don’t need to find your second year housemates in the first month, just let it happen. You’ll naturally become closer to your best friends, you’ll notice annoyances in people you’d rather not live with and you’ll notice the friends who’s company you don’t get sick of and who make you the happiest. I ended up living with Lewis, Cameron and Chris in second year and Lewis, Cameron, and Daniel in third year. I remember so many people thought I was crazy living with boys but bloody hell I’m so glad I did. Ignoring the odd toilet seat left up and the non-stop football talk it was definitely the best decision I made at University.
“You’ve got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, J.V Jocks, Asian Nerds, Cool Asians, Varsity jocks, unfriendly black hotties, girls who eat their feelings, girls who don’t eat anything, desperate wanabees, burnouts, sexually active band geeks, the greatest people you will ever meet and the worst: beware of the plastics.”
And lastly, I’m going to be completely honest, before University I could count the friends I trusted on one hand. University isn’t like Mean Girls, High school and Sixth form where the social ladders are too high and reputations are too adored. When you go to University you move away from the past, you move away from cliques. Everyone grows up and everyone is equal.
I’m not using this blog post to tell you University is easy, because it’s not. Moving away from home is so hard, managing your own money, growing independent and meeting degree level deadlines are all very challenging but I just hope that even if it’s only one of you I convince, that if there’s someone the other side of the screen reading this post unsure about going to university that you do it! I promise you that you will meet your best friends in the whole world, make the most unforgettable memories and realise what’s most important in life. And for those of you who are already at University, make the most of every minute, it will be over in a blink! Go buy a bottle, get drunk and go out.
“Enjoy your youth. You’ll never be younger than you are at this very moment.”