“It’s going to be the best time of your life!” “You’re going to make so many new friends!” “You’ll walk on to campus and instantly meet your soulmate!”
There are a thousand and one things people say to you when you mention that you’re about to start uni, and some of them are truer than others. What’s the truth? Well, it’s sort of a little bit of everything.
I got a pocket, got a pocketful of expectations…
9 weeks ago, I was bundled up in my car with all my belongings in tow. Clothes, bedding, and 17 different types of spatula (in case 16 of them broke suddenly). There was no way you could call me unprepared.
My expectations for uni were high, to say the least. I had only heard good things from everyone I knew, and I was ready to have the best time of my life. I was going to have the most fun Freshers’ Week with the best people in the world. Then I was going to be the most studious and hardworking human going, whilst keeping happy and healthy.
In my head, I had been to enough open days to understand exactly how everything would go down, and I was ready to tackle whatever came my way.
Working 9 to 5 (what a way to get stressed out)
Move-in day went exactly how I’d hoped. The weather was lovely and campus looked beautiful, and after my goodbyes to my parents (smash cut to some upbeat pop music to a montage of me setting up my bedroom), I was straight into the flat kitchen and making friends. Even Freshers’ Week, save for a few messy nights, was a really fun experience.
The week after, though, when lectures started, the reality of uni began to hit. It’s no lie when people say the workload is a step up from what you’re used to. Working to hand-in deadlines was something that I hadn’t anticipated and the content itself was more than I had expected. In no time at all, I was really quite stressed about all the work that I had to do, and I had no clue what to do about it.
What I’d forgotten was how to enjoy myself. Whilst I wasn’t shutting myself in every day, I wasn’t considering all of the ways that I could enjoy myself, and that was getting me down.
A night out was fun, but I’d really been ignoring societies in general. My inbox was full of emails from all the groups that I’d signed up for at the Freshers’ Fair and I hadn’t even been to a single meeting for any of them! This was the same for loads of my flatmates too. So we decided it was worth giving a few things a go. We were even inspired to set up our own society, for one of our more niche interests!
The most important thing that I’d missed was keeping a balance between working and having fun. Staying up late knee-deep in physics assignments and ‘how-on-earth-will-I sketch-this-graph’ will always be an inevitability for me and my poor time management. But knowing that I can also spend time with my friends enjoying something that we love, or going out for a dance and a drink, makes the stress that bit more manageable.
I’ve had the time of my life (or, 9 weeks)
So, what is uni really like? Well, kind of like nothing you’d ever expect, but in the best way possible.
There are stresses and worries, of course. But there are also so many opportunities to make friends and try new things that you might not have done otherwise.
My first term at uni has been like nothing else I’ve ever experienced before, and there are too many positives to count! The biggest downside? The sheer amount of Lemsip I’m buying to fight off round 57 of Freshers’ flu!
Read more student blogs about what uni’s really like