It was 7:45. I didn’t have to be up for at least another 2 hours but I was way too excited to sleep. I loaded my bags into the car (obviously forgetting a fair few essentials I was sure I had packed) and we set off.
My first few days at university were a whirlwind of emotions, as I think is the same for most people. I was excited and ready to start the new chapter of my life but I was also absolutely terrified and had no idea what was going on for at least 3 weeks.
Safe to say, it was nothing like what I had expected. For those of you that listen to our radio show, you will have heard of ‘New Jamie’. New Jamie was stylish (she wore loafers and bomber jackets), she was witty and cool, she went to every social event and somehow managed to never miss a lecture. She also never made an appearance… My loafers hurt and my bomber jacket just really wasn’t me. I missed a fair few social events and maybe have missed one or two lectures (sorry, Mum). But that’s okay. I realized that I had overthought going to university and worried about what people would think of me when actually when I got there, I realised everyone was in the same boat and it was just best to be yourself.
I learnt a hell of a lot during my first year, many of which through embarrassing myself terribly, but the most important thing I learnt was that is it okay to have bad days. University isn’t going to be amazing everyday. Some days you are going to miss home and some days your lectures are going to be a load of rubbish. Despite this though, some days will be the best days of your life. The whole experience is something that, as clichéd as this sounds, I have grown so much from. I have met some incredible friends and learnt so much about myself and what I want from my future. I have made so many incredible memories and had the odd night I can’t remember. University isn’t just about the course you’re studying, which when you only have 10 hours contact time a week, is probably a good thing (don’t get me started).
My advice for future freshers is pretty generic but it is so true. I don’t regret anything I did during freshers, the things I regret are the things I wish I would have tried. Throw yourself into as many societies as possible and meet as many new people as you can. At the same time, stay true to yourself and don’t feel pressured to do things you don’t want to do. There are so many people at university that you wont be alone if you are different to the people in your flat. In terms of food, you’re not going to cook like you thought you would (if you do, I salute you) and people are going to steal your food. Just try and eat healthy most of the time and buy frozen veg, it lasts way longer and is really easy! Next, your course is important and you need to work hard but don’t neglect your mental health and well being. Don’t be scared to take a break and certainly don’t be scared to seek help if you need it, there is no shame in that.
Finally, enjoy it! I’m going to be honest, I’m a little jealous of all the new freshers starting university this year. You’re about to start the most testing but possibly best years of your life. Good luck, you’ll be fine.
Jamie Lee Jenkins, Co-Editor-in-Chief