It's that time of year where students everywhere have either just started university or are about to take on one of the biggest adventures of their lives. My first year of university feels like a lifetime ago and with this year marking five years since I started, I thought it only right to take a trip down memory lane and hopefully help ease any anxiety some of you may be feeling about moving out and starting a new chapter in your life. Everyone's experience will be different of course but going to university is a decision I will never regret, no matter how many student loans letters I receive in the post...
01. People are generally lovely.
I made some of my best friends at university and I can't imagine having survived the endless library sessions and nights out without them. Moving away from home is scary but everyone is in the same boat so it's relatively easy to make friends if you're friendly and fun to be around. It doesn't mean you'll be best buddies for the next three or four years but I met most of my good friends within the first couple months.
02. I am a strong, independent woman...
Before I went to university I was always quite wary of trying new things or attending social situations where I didn't know anyone. I'm not bothered by these at all now and I know it's down to the fact that I had to learn to live independently for three years. It gave me the confidence that I can do whatever I set my mind to and most of the time no situation is as bad as you think it will be. Obviously I had a fair few phone calls to my parents asking for help or advice but that's completely natural!
03. The art of self-discipline.
I'm not talking about being horrible to yourself but the opposite! Whether it's not eating junk food all day every day just because you can, or making yourself write that essay when you don't have many contact hours, university is where you really get to know your strengths and weaknesses and develop methods of dealing with them without anyone else telling you what to do. I found that eating healthy food during the week and keeping on top of my workload was essential to staying happy and still having a social life.
04. Everyone has their tribe.
The amazing thing about university is that you meet so many people from all over the country. Everyone brings their own unique backgrounds and sense of self to university so you really do meet some interesting characters. I learnt very quickly that the people in my flat in first year weren't going to be the kind of friends I had envisaged. However it forced me to go out and make friends elsewhere. It's real life after all and you'll meet people you like and people you don't. The good thing is you don't have to stick with the same people if you don't want to.
05. Student life is a bubble.
Seriously, make the most of the discount while you can. My gym membership was £5 a month which is crazy to look back at now! There's no other time quite like it and if you're doing a humanities degree like I did, you'll be accused by family of having more holidays than term time. Don't worry, they're just jealous because you can nap whenever you want and go out on a Monday night if you want to (this soon wears off).
To wrap up, university is a wonderful experience and I do occasionally wonder how my life now would be different if I hadn't gone but ultimately I would do it all over again. I hope this little snippet of my university experience was useful or reminded you of your own experience. I definitely couldn't go back to writing essays or arguing over who needs to by the next lot of toilet roll but the good memories I'll keep forever.
What was your university experience like?