Completed. There goes year 1… 3 to go and I know there’s a heck of a lot to come! Thanks for all of you following along on my mad journey through life and uni and becoming a (real) adult.
Dad came to pick me up – my stuff only just fit into our car!
It feels like time has flown now, but there were definitely moments where it was really tough and I couldn’t imagine just how I would get through it all. I think uni has proven to be the opposite of what I was expecting in many ways… So I thought I’d sum up some stuff I’ve learned for any of you out there reading this and thinking about uni but have yet to experience it!
So yeah, here it is…
Things I’ve learned in year 1
1. First year might not be your best year. It’s true… A startlingly large percentage of freshers actually don’t enjoy freshers week or their first year… it happens. I was one of these (kind of… I loved my course and my societies… but my flat mates were hard to handle at times!!) Be prepared for anything to happen. Maybe it won’t be like this for you, and if it isn’t, that’s great! But if you do find that it’s a little bit disappointing or you feel homesick or you feel like you have no friends… this is NORMAL and actually most people are probably feeling exactly the same… they are just covering it up! Talk to people and be honest… that’s the best way to make friends anyway. If they know that you’re going through the same thing you’ll probably find most of the time they’ll agree and admit that they have found first year to be a bit less than the amazing experience it’s bigged up to be. The main thing is not quitting. Unless you know for sure it’s not gonna work and your course is wrong… quitting because you don’t get on with your flat mates isn’t always the best solution!!
2. Keep in contact – yeah your parents are going to be further away now and maybe you feel like it’s uncool to ring them up once (even, dare I say, twice) a week and that once you’re at uni that’s IT. No more contact at all except at the holidays. This is sooo not true and actually your parents are going to be there for you because they love you. Make sure you have talked about finances before you go and feel comfortable talking about them when you’re there too – it helps with loans and food money etc.
3. Make new contacts – getting involved in societies which really interest you, and a new church too, are really super important. These are where you’re gonna make new friends and find out new interests and skills, and they’ll give you a break from lectures and studying.
4. You don’t have to drink! (Or club… Power to the early-to-bed people!) Seriously, everyone at uni is waaay more chilled out than people in Sixth form/A-levels and school. If you don’t want to drink, just say so, and stick to your guns. There is absolutely no need to drink because you feel pressured to or go out and stay up really late because it’s what everyone else is doing. If they can’t accept that it’s just not what you do, then they aren’t really your friends… but most people are pretty easy what ever you decide! My flatmates asked me if I wanted to go out with them the ENTIRE YEAR and I just said no every time pretty much. What I did instead sometimes was hang around when they had pre-drinks (“prees”) in the flat and talk/socialise, then when they went out I would just go to bed or watch a movie or whatever. Don’t feel like you have to impress people – they will figure out pretty quickly if you’re just putting on a show when you can’t maintain it anyway!
5. If you’re a Christian… make sure you know your stuff! This might not apply to everyone reading this, but to those that it does… Try and prepare yourself for the questions people are gonna ask you. Do you believe in…?? Sex before marriage. Taking drugs. Masterbation (yes, I’ve actually been asked about my stance on this!). Homosexuality. Everything and anything can be asked about. Even if you go to Church every week. Just make sure you have an opinion basically, because you never know if you might have to argue or explain it. I basically decided I wasn’t going to bash people with my faith… I wasn’t even going to tell them straight up “Hey guys I’m a Christian”. Usually people can tell after a while that there’s something a little different about you (usually the fact that you don’t swear!). I just treat people like my friends and get on with life. If they are curious, they’ll ask, but there’s no need to make a massive deal out of it, as you could just end up alienating them! This is just my experience so take it or leave it 🙂
6. If you can’t do it, say no. And don’t beat yourself up either! You don’t have to always say yes. You get tired, and that’s ok. Don’t try and take on the world. You don’t need to do EVERYTHING. Freshers is a great time to join a bazillion societies (even though you probably won’t be able to go to all of them anyway) and yes a thousand times get stuck in … but pace yourself and don’t burn out!
7. Budget. And try and stick to it. I have an overdraft I haven’t touched. I have a set amount for food, I pay my tithe (10% of my earnings to the church) and I put another 10% into my saving account (if I can). The other 80% is for whatever I need it for. 80-10-10.
8. You might not get on with everyone. If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’ll know I’ve actually had a really tough time in my flat. At first I thought it was all amazing, during freshers and the few weeks after, when everyone was trying to make a good impression. But pretty quickly, people will reveal their true colours. It happens. You’re living with them – and when you’re in that close of a contact with someone you are going to find out what they are really like. The key is to try and be as patient as possible (it’s hard, I know!) and forgive them and move on. I blame myself a lot, and this isn’t a great reaction either. It’s not necessarily your fault that you find it hard to live with them. Some people are just hard to live with! (If you do struggle in this area, make sure you talk to someone about it and keep them close, as it will keep you sane!).
9. Don’t go home too much. Yeah, if you can, go home once or twice a term between holidays. Try and space it out too. The more you go home, the more you’ll realise how much you miss it, and the harder it’ll be to come back!! Everyone will get the January Blues after Christmas, so you aren’t alone! (Again, talk about it with someone, it will keep help you keep going).
10. Remember God is going with you. It hit me a few weeks in that I wasn’t going to uni on my own, being dumped there and that was it, I now had to make friends in order to survive. God is your dad, your best friend. You can talk to him at any time. Remember you are never alone in this, and no matter what happens, he will provide and he will keep you safe.
Feel free to comment below any questions you might have about first year etc if you’ve managed to read this far and have anything I haven’t covered!! I would love to answer your questions 🙂
Just a few more pics from today… some daisies from James and Naomi’s garden (some friends of ours from our Church who moved to Devon.) We are currently staying with some family friends but we went to see James and Nai today and their kids just to catch up and go to the beach!
Here’s the beach we went to for a few hours in the afternoon. It was nice and hot!
#ladsontour – or rather my little brothers and sister chilling with me on the rocks at the beach playing ‘Cheese and Wine’ (it’s a game).
Cool so that’s it! We came back to our other friends’ house and had tea. I was really hungry by then! Now we’re all playing Catan and chilling (not me obviously, I’m updating y’all!)
I’m feeling proud that I got this far and amazed at how much I’ve learned. There is so much more I could write but I thought 10 points was enough for one night!
My battery is literally about to die as I type this so I’m going to finish this and post – have a great summer everyone! I may just post a few recipes from now on… but I’ll definitely be back for year 2!
Adios! (Пока пока).