12/09/2014

University Series | My 1st year experience semester one


As part of my university series I thought I would write about my own first year experience. For me personally I knew that I wanted to go to university rather than getting a job or doing an apprenticeship. Having said that I was still very nervous about starting university, the thought of moving away to live somewhere where I didn't know anyone scared me a lot. I remember waking up on moving day and wishing that I had never chosen to go to university, when we got to my accommodation I wanted to turn back around and go home. There was a part of me that was slightly excited though, seeing my new room was quite exciting. I personally found the first day very strange, I had spoken to some of my flat mates before I had moved in but not all of them and at first whilst I thought they were all really nice I couldn't see myself becoming close friends with any of them; which I was completely wrong about but in that first week I felt like I was never going to make friends like the ones I had from school. 

The fact that the first week was spent going out clubbing was quite daunting too as before university I had never been clubbing before, my friends and I were never bothered about it plus where I live there isn't much nightlife. So walking into the club on the first night completely sober and extremely shy I felt completely out of my comfort zone. I found the first couple of weeks very hard, I was very homesick, which I hadn't expected as I don't usually get that homesick but I think it was because I didn't really know anyone and was having to cook and do everything for myself. I did consider dropping out then and there but decided I couldn't drop out before I'd even tried to get settled so I set myself the goal of lasting until Christmas and if I still hated it then I would reassess my options. It wasn't just being homesick I wasn't sure whether I had chosen the right course, I felt like everyone else truly loved their course and I didn't. Again I think this was down to getting used to things once I started to get settled I found myself starting to enjoy the course a lot more.

So fast forward a couple of months and it got to Christmas at which point I was actually was quite sad about going home for the holidays and wanted to stay at university. My time at university definitely improved after the first month or so, so whilst it doesn't seem like things will get better when you are finding it hard to settle in they most likely will. I thought I'd split the rest of this post into months and go into a bit more detail about what happened in each.

September

Like I said above I didn't have the greatest time at the start of the semester so the two weeks of term in September were probably the worst. I'll be honest and say I pretty much cried every time my parents called, I also felt like I couldn't tell anyone as it seemed like everyone else was having a great time. Once I had told my flatmates how homesick and lonely I had felt in the first couple of weeks they were really supportive, so if you get homesick or lonely let your friends / flatmates know as they'll most likely feel a bit homesick too. 

The second week at university meant starting lectures, luckily it was just lectures I had to attend as seminars started a week later, this meant I could get used to my way around campus. Once lectures started things got slightly better, I had less time to worry and could concentrate more on my course. 

October

The month of my birthday, I ended up going home for the weekend of my birthday, it was the third weekend at university so I still didn't know my flatmates that well and didn't really want to go out clubbing. It was nice to go home although it made me feel a bit more homesick when I got back to university. By the end of October I had made better friends with a couple of my flatmates and felt a lot more comfortable at university. I didn't feel homesick and had finally got round to sorting my room out properly and making it more homely and personal.

 I also had to write my first essay (picture 4), this was another learning curve as I wasn't used to having to reference but eating a whole tub of Ben and Jerry's helped a lot. October also meant Halloween (you can see my cute pumpkin in picture 2), we had a flat party to celebrate halloween and it was the first time that I've really dressed up and done something for halloween. I didn't include a picture of my costume in this post as I think I look pretty awful, lets just say I'm not the most skilled when it comes to turning myself into a skeleton!
1,2,3,4,5
November 

By November I felt a lot more used to living at university and had some things to look forward to. Myself and two of my flatmates had signed ourselves up for something called the great escape which is where you have 36 hours to get as far away from your university as possible without paying for any transport whilst raising money for charity. It was cold and stressful at times (especially at 8pm at night when you're standing at a junction in the middle of nowhere thinking you may be stranded) but it was also a lot of fun. We got to ride in lorries, one thing I learnt is that lorries are not easy to get in and out of  especially with a bucket full of change and when the driver starts moving when you're still climbing up the stairs! We only made it to Dover as we were unable to get a ferry to France but it was still a good experience. Thinking back it probably wasn't the safest thing to do but it was very well organised and we meet quite a few other students from different universities along the way. 

The Great Escape 
I also went to a boat party in November as it was my flatmates birthday so we thought we'd do something a bit more special. It was nice to dress up a bit more as most of the student nights were pretty casual, I now know why I don't bother wearing heels to clubs. It didn't help that we had to run for the bus, I can't run and I definitely can't run in heels!!

December

The last month of first semester, by this point I was settled at university and apart from the thought of January exams I was enjoying everything. We decorated our kitchen with a Christmas tree my parents bought up from my home (picture 6), we also attended our accommodations Christmas ball (picture 8). It was a lot better than we had expected although we weren't happy that there wasn't a chocolate dessert! We made up for the chocolate with cocktails at the after party (picture 9), we tried a toblerone one and a popcorn one. 

For the last week of term, we decided to have a flat Christmas dinner, we went all out and ended up with a lot of food. I had to cook a whole chicken for the first time and was paranoid I'd poison my flat but we all lived!

6,7,8,9

So that's a summary of my first semester at university, I'm planning on doing one for my second semester too. This turned out to be quite a long and rambly post so if you managed to get to the end then well done! This is partly for myself as well so I can look back and read this in the future. If you have any posts about your university experience then feel free to leave a link.

Sophie x

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