Happy Christmas, and welcome to 2016!
As we approach the new term, and I approach the halfway point of my university life, (not quite sure how we got here so quick), I wanted to just look at what things are different between now, and this time last year, and hopefully give a bit of an insight into how things will differ between first and second year.
Thinking back to first year, I remember coming back to university happy to start the new term, but also pretty sad to be leaving home again. The Christmas holidays of first year will be, for many people, the first time that they really get to go back home again after having been here for 10 weeks. I know that for me, living in Kent, getting home for a bit from York during term time wasn’t really that feasible, so this was the first time being back home for me for a while. Having to leave that again is difficult, as I’d not really got a solid group of friends at university yet, and having spent a lot of Christmas spending time with them, I was reluctant to head back up. The pull of having a kitchen I didn’t have to share with 19 other people was also pretty strong. But second term of first year is, or was for me anyway, when I think I properly settled in to university life. I’d submitted my first actual assessed essays over the holidays, I’d decided exactly which societies I’d be carrying on with, and everything seemed a lot easier than the last time I’d arrived at the uni, which was for the first time. The second term of seminars is also where I found the people who maybe I’d shared things with last term, and this meant that I started to develop a proper group of friends.
In stark contrast to last year, I hardly left York at all over the Christmas period this year. Having settled into a house with my group of friends, and getting a job here, as much as I enjoyed being home I was far more excited to be back up in York when I drove back up here. I had two essays to be working with again, but the fact that they were both on modules that I chose meant I actually quit enjoyed the process of writing them. I was excited to see all of my course friends, and spent the New Year up here with people I didn’t even really know at this time last year.
I think the main message that I want to try and get across is this. Going home for Christmas in first year is the first time you remove yourself from the university environment, and its easy to get comfortable with that life again and it can be difficult when you have to throw yourself back into it, especially if you don’t quite feel grounded at the university in terms of your house or your social group, as I know I didn’t. But the second term is when things start to feel a bit more familiar, and you feel a bit more confident with yourself and your surroundings at the university. By the same time next year, I imagine a lot of people will find themselves in the same position I am, torn between wanting to get home for some time with their family, but not wanting to leave York and the groups of friends they’ve made up here.