University is seen as a rite of passage for many people, and becoming a fresher (a first year university student) is a huge aspect of a person’s university experience. However, not everyone loves it, including myself, so I now want to talk about what I learnt from that experience.
For people who want to go to university, at eighteen years old you are expected to know what course you want to study that can mould the course of your career, if not your life. Some people know exactly who they are at that age and what they want to do, but others don’t. Looking back, I think I just went along with going to university because that’s what most people did. I’m not sure what I expected my university experience to be like but it definitely wasn’t what it turned out to be.
Leaving home and moving a hundred miles away is difficult for anyone, but I more than most hated it. Looking back, I think I was too young to fully embrace with the university experience and the opportunities I had. I think this was probably the first time I realised that I didn’t like clubbing very much, or getting drunk – two of the stereotypical elements to what freshers do. I ended up feeling isolated because I didn’t like doing those things while my flatmates did. I quickly became unhappy and I didn’t like being away from home, and my friends.
I learnt that to get through the year I needed to find an outlet from what was going on in my everyday life that I didn’t like. Nowadays a lot is spoken about self-care and looking after yourself. I think this is what I was doing – I just didn’t know what it was called. I have always been a huge fan of TV shows and that’s what I used – I became a member of an online forum that discussed soap operas and this was my outlet. Social media and technology weren’t like they are now, and it was more isolating being away from people back then, so this was my way of channelling my thoughts into someone I liked. There is a lot that can be said for escapism.
So being a fresher isn’t always something people like. If anyone doesn’t like university, there is a lot of support available, and even if you don’t talk to someone in an official capacity, I really recommend talking to someone. You will never be the first person to think and feel how you do, and definitely won’t be the last. I know now that I needed that experience to understand that life isn’t always going to be what you think it is, and you may not like the things that other people do, but that is OK. More importantly, you can get through the tough times to reach the good ones. Seven years later I lived in halls again when I studied another course, and I loved the experience. I think I was more mature and knew what made me happy. I also had more of an idea about what I wanted to do with my life, and embraced what university had to offer me, which is so much more than just the fresher experience.
If you went to university, what was your experience like? Let me know in the comments below.