Roses are not red and other things you might learn when arriving at the university

I am sitting in my room and looking up at the pinboard calendar. Just realizing that almost two months have passed since I first arrived. A lot has happened, including:

  • countless socials (always look for free pizza)
  • dance lessons, the discovery of the fact that Diagon Alley is just a 40 minute walk from my front-step(!!!)
  • dozens of awkward interactions with people, that now start to mould into beautiful friendships
  • learning that roses are white (when you are in York they are always white, remember that!).

A university with the most ducks per square metre obviously has a lot to offer. However, at times it gets quite confusing. I will make my best attempt to tell you about my first experiences and things that I have learned along the way.

20 is not bad

I live in Halifax college (Campus West) in a house of 20 people. It also happens to be a 20-minute walk from my department building (Campus East). Coming to uni I was scared to live together with so many strangers. What if they are horrible? Will there be huge queues all the time? What if …?

I am here to calm my past-self down and say the good old “everything will be alright, it’s not as bad as it seems”. 

First of all, living with 20 people. Aside from having occasional crowdedness at dinner time or during house parties, I don’t even notice that there are 20 of us. Moreover, a lot of people means that you always have someone to talk to, as well as ask for a pan or extra spice to your beloved pasta. If you are as lucky as I am even a cake for your birthday and double-board monopoly night is included.

When it comes to a 20-minute walk – in your first days, especially if it also happens to be your first time in England, it’s easy to sit in your room constantly. Trying to figure out how to get National Insurance number (get that as fast as possible), job, bank account, and other things, whilst forgetting to do any physical activities, therefore having to walk awhile to get to your studies is a great way to get those 10 000 steps per day. Also, a 20-minute walk home is a great way to have a conversation with people to whom you are usually too scared to talk.

Freshers’ week

You won’t be full of energy all the time and that’s alright.

Another one – you don’t have to go out if you don’t want to. There are a lot of things happening aside from clubbing.

Last one – you will probably get lost on the campus, but it gets better with time. The campus map is a great help.

I didn’t buy my freshers wristband (which allows you to attend all of the events that your college has planned). But there was still tons to do. If you want to find out about other events look up what YUSU (University of York Students’ Union) has on their website and look at facebook events. 

Oh, and Aldi is a 30-minute walk away from campus. The faster you learn the route,  the more thankful your bank account will be.

Getting to know people

Apply for societies, there are so many of them, it is almost impossible not to find something that suits you (look out for Freshers’ Fair).

We all are in the same boat. Everyone is new and as confused as you are, but the faster you find like-minded people the easier and more enjoyable it gets. The only way to meet new people is by getting out of your room.

Go to socials, even when you don’t feel like it. You are probably not going to find your BFF in the first week and not even in the first month. It takes time, so be patient. Especially when first groups of people are already settled, and you still haven’t even had a proper conversation. But, it will happen eventually, so don’t stress. Even if you are an introvert (I am) don’t be scared to write to your course mates on facebook and go to a social together.

When in socials don’t lose your hopes in the first 30 minutes, I went to YSTV (York Student Television) first social, at the beginning it didn’t seem like my cup of tea and I wanted to leave, but somehow I convinced myself to stay, 3 hours later I was walking back home knowing for sure that I want to be a part of this society, and I haven’t regretted it ever since. 

To wrap this all up, it is intimidating, stressful and anxieties will come, but it is also one of the best things you might get yourself into.

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Hi, I am Marta, I am an international student, doing Film and Television Production.

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