Part 2 | Reflecting On My University Experience

So welcome back to part 2 of my little reflection on my university experience - if you haven't already read part 1, you should because it's a good place to start! I talked all about my experiences before university - all about how I felt forced into university, how I wasn't accepted into halls and how I almost ended up living with four third year boys, it's a real treat! But yes, in this part I'm going to talk all about my first year at uni; my first ever lecture, how I made new friends, my first night out as a fresher, and getting diagnosed with anxiety As I said in the last part, my three years at uni went by in a blur so it's really nice to just sit down and reflect - I feel like my first year especially went by super quickly so I look forward to writing this and reminiscing on all the good and bad times! I'm actually sitting here writing this on a gorgeous little spot on the sea front, it's such a gorgeous day.. So naturally I'm embracing my pasty legs and working on my tan while the sea literally laps at my feet - today is a good day! (Update: I'm burnt.. what a surprise, haha!) But yeah, enough gloating.. As I said in the last part I'm always happy to answer any questions you might have whether you're already at uni or you're thinking about going - so feel free to ask away in the comments! And I hope you enjoy this little part! 

So the first few weeks of year one were pretty tough, I had never really spent a lot of time away from home and I definitely did feel the burn of homesickness, especially during that first week! I actually felt it so bad that I was physically ill during a lot of that first week (I spoke to my friends about this and they had the exact same problem!) I feel like this was probably a mixture of homesickness, general anxiety about being in a new home with new people, drinking and being hungover and freshers flu.. because freshers flu is so real and we ALL suffered with it (apparently it's because during freshers everyone is so packed together on nights out and everyone brings bugs from all around the UK that we're not used to - so pretty much everyone get ill within the first few months of uni, haha!) But yeah, I did eventually get used to living away from home and although I did take the two hour train journey to visit home as often as possible (if only to get a proper home cooked meal!) I feel like distractions were the best thing to keep me from missing home - that's where friends come in to play! 

To be completely honest my friendship between me and my housemates seemed pretty doomed from the beginning and all of us pretty much spent 99% of our time locked away in our rooms. (We all had different interests.. and didn't click at all!) This actually only got worse as the year went on too, I feel like we all just started to get fed up with each other, especially when I was the only one cleaning the kitchen and bathroom..! So during that first week I made sure to make it my mission to make new friends so that I could spend as little time in that house as possible! I actually kind of just fell into a friendship group actually, it was on my first ever day of uni - we had our first lecture and everyone got there early and kind of just stood around outside! I plucked up the courage to walk over to one of the circles that had formed and everyone was introducing themselves, saying where they're from and all that stuff (I actually found out that one of the girls is from a place very near to my home town which was nice!) I feel like we definitely all hit it off right away and this definitely took away some of my first day nerves! Anyway, we walked into the lecture hall and we all sat down together, I sat next to a girl who I'm going to call Lucy (she probably won't read this, but I'm not using her real name just in case, haha!) and we were friends straight away, we had loads to talk about and she actually invited me out with her that night with some of her housemates! Anyway, on that night out was when I was introduced to my now best friend and chummy for life - Zoe. It really messes with my head how I could've ended up in a completely different friendship group with completely different friends all because of which circle I walked into on that first day.. and I might never have met Zoe! 

In terms of the actual University work, I didn't find the first year too bad - I would actually really compare it to the work I had to do in school, the difference being that it was in a subject I wanted to actually learn about (I studied early childhood studies by the way!). I managed to finish the year with a mixture of average grades and some really good grades which I was very pleased with! The only piece of work I remember really struggling with was the exam we had at the end of the year, (the only exam I've ever had to do at uni, thank god!) it was one of those exams where you're given the questions beforehand and you're kind of recommended to figure out your answer in advance and memorise it.. I can't remember how much I had to memorise but I do remember really stressing out about it for weeks! I've actually included an Instagram where I posted about it, just to give you an insight into how long that exam was and how stressed out I was, haha!) 

I feel like my first year was definitely the year of going out for me, as it should be! My grades didn't count in my first year and you either get a pass or a fail, so I definitely used that to my advantage and made the most of being able to go out loads instead of focusing on my assignments! Freshers was so much fun and I met loads of new people at pre drinks, paint parties and club crawls - every single conversation you have at the beginning of uni starts like 'what's you name? where are you from originally?' so it's really easy to meet new people! So yeah, I definitely had a really great time for the first couple of months of going out, eventually though as many friendship groups do we kind of drifted apart and my friend Lucy wasn't really the person I became friends with on the first day of uni, unfortunately! I also began to have panic attacks whenever I drank, which put a bit of a downer on the mood... As I mentioned briefly before my first year of university was where I actually went to a doctor about my anxiety.  You can actually read more about it in one of my really old posts linked here if you want to know a little bit more, but I'll give a bit of a brief run down here. Basically half way through my first year of uni, as friendships faded, my relationship with my housemates worsened and the reality of a long distance relationship settled in I got more and more anxious and had more and more panic attacks on nights out to the point where I became somewhat of a recluse and wasn't really enjoying the whole uni experience anymore. It really did effect all aspects of my life too, especially my life at university as I found myself missing lectures whenever I was having a bad mental health day (which turned out to be quite often! But rock bottom for me in terms of my anxiety was definitely being called in for an attendance meeting at uni where I basically poured my feelings out onto my tutor and told her all about my anxiety and getting no support whatsoever. I was basically given the number for the uni mental health support people (which is great for an anxious person who's afraid of phone calls!) and was told to make a friend in my lectures so I would feel less anxious! Without getting too into it (because this post is far too long already) I feel like I have to say, based on my experience with university, there really is little to no support for people who suffer from mental health issues.. I was basically given a copied and pasted response to my issues and I remember on that day feeling so lost. Obviously, as I said this is only based on my experience though so I'd love hear other opinions on this if there's anyone out there who has had a similar experience or a really positive experience with their university! 

But yeah, as the university year came to an end and we were finally all finished with exams and assignments my Dad came down to help me move all of my things out of my room and I went back home and back to work for the summer - I can't say I was too thrilled about going back to work (especially since I had two jobs!) but I can definitely say I was so happy to be back home, to eat proper home cooked meals and have all my washing done for me.. haha! 

1 comment :

  1. I love it when I sit and read people's experiences of university because they are all so different to the individual and we all come away with different things from it. The workload is definitely something that puzzled me, my first year was quiet then second it was unreal, ridiculously busy then third year just focuses on two main modules and felt like I could have spent the last term doing one from second year instead of finishing my degree earlier and having nothing to do!