University — the best years of your life?By Catherine Holdsworth
There are things which might make it seem otherwise, but once you settle in and take the pressure off yourself, you’ll really find your stride.
So university has started again, and by now, if you’re a fresher, you should be settled in and adjusting to the awkward balance between having a social life and essay deadlines. So many people will have said that your time at university will be the best three years of your life and to seize every opportunity and enjoy every moment.
This can be a daunting prospect as it puts a lot of pressure on you to be happy and join in. I recently graduated and I’m afraid that I am one of those annoying people that will assert how amazing university is. However, it was not always like that and it’s OK still to feel a little like you’re treading water and hoping your lifeboat will come soon.
I didn’t really find my feet until I was halfway through my first year. At first, I was in a really terrible flat with people I didn’t get on with and I was quite homesick: not the ideal situation for the start of the best three years of my life! Yet as I met more people and eventually changed flats, everything changed for me. If you’re unhappy where you are: whether that be with your housemates or on your course then speak to somebody about it — there are loads of people willing to help you and who understand the difficulties of being away from home for the first time.
Join a society. Anything that you loved doing at school or something you’ve always wanted to try: it’s never too late, I didn’t join the theatre group until second term of first year. It was the best thing I ever did, it gave me so much confidence and introduced me to so many new people. As well as that, the great thing is that if it’s not for you, you don’t have your mum telling you that you have to stick at it!
The best thing about university is that it isn’t like school in any way. Yes, there are still cliques and popular people, but there is less judgement and prejudice. Whoever you are and whatever you’re into, in a university community of thousands, there are guaranteed to be others who share your passion. In my second year, I was lucky enough to hit the jackpot when it came to housemates and I am so grateful for that. If you feel that you’re losing touch with friends from home, don’t despair, that’s natural. Embrace the change and atmosphere; it’s amazing what you can get away with when you’re a student! Soon, you’ll be graduating and you’ll look back at how much you’ve changed and wish you could have another three years with the most amazing people you’ll ever meet.