As if making the decision to uproot yourself to go and study at uni wasn’t grand enough, you are then faced with a number of other potentially life changing choices. What you do at Freshers Week and your choices about relationships could influence the rest of your studies, while what degree you end up choosing could have huge bearings on the roads your later life ends up travelling along.
These are the thoughts, recollections and musings of a student who is just coming to the end of her first year.
Article by Jennifer L.
The relationship between the past and the present is a difficult one. You reflect retrospectively on one point in time. You register the good elements; you register the bad elements. But, ultimately, you can’t change anything. You’re in the present. All you can do is communicate your feelings to others. Writing this post has made me think differently about my life as I reflect on the university journey I’m on. It may help you to think about your own, especially if you’re going to start university this September.
Before I launch into my dreamy university memoirs, you should know a little about me. I’m Jenny and I’m a few months off completing my first year at the University of Manchester. I haven’t been here long but I’ve been enlightened by a lot more than just the wonders of literature and language. I feel that I have learnt a lot about what makes me, what I like and what I don’t like. More importantly perhaps, I have learnt a lot about what I wish I had done differently.
Image by: Aberdeen Student Radio
Reflecting on Freshers’ Week
The first night of Fresher’s Week was a Hawaiian party. I went all out with make-up, dress and sandals. I quickly learnt that nobody cares. People are less bothered about getting really dressy for a night out at university. It’s a shame because I had excitedly planned outfits prior to freshers’ week.
I bought tickets for every night of freshers’ week. That’s a decision I don’t regret although it’s quite hard to get to know your peers in a loud night-club. That’s why I loved the pub golf night, a chilled way of getting to know your hall mates.
So, yes, freshers’ week is a lot of fun! But it’s only one week (or in some universities, two) so mentally prepare yourself to work the week after. This is something I didn’t do and resented work.
My advice for future university students: Take advantage of Fresher’s Week and the following weeks. Once semester two kicks in, you’ll have less time to hang out. In addition, don’t be shy and take the opportunity to talk to as many people as possible.
Image by: D Services
What I wish I knew about choosing a degree
Exactly one year ago, I was a diligent A-Level student enjoying French, Biology, English Literature and English Language. I was fanatical about obtaining good grades. Although I achieved straight As and A*s, I was unsure about what I wanted to study, where I wanted to go in life, who I wanted to be.
I had a fantastic A-Level English Literature tutor who suggested that I pursued English at university. My father wanted me to study Law and my mother wanted me to study languages. In the end, I chose English Literature & Linguistics, a compromise between my strengths and a degree which encompassed literature, language and psychology.
I wish I had chosen something that I enjoyed. At the moment, my degree doesn’t stimulate me and I feel permanently bored. In an attempt to tackle such boredom, I play party music whilst I work. I hope this is just first years blues because at this rate, I will have died of boredom before the end of my third year!
My advice for future prospective university students: Don’t just think about what you enjoy at this moment in time. Think about what will stimulate you in the long run. For example, if you’re interested in English Literature, do you enjoy reading classics outside of class? Would you personally choose to read a classic over a popular text? You’ve got to love your subject!
Image by: Rich Tea
What I wish I knew about relationships
Before coming to university, I knew extroverted, energetic people and had a loud family. It was an interesting experience meeting more introverted people at university. Looking back, my group of friends differs quite significantly from the group I first hung out with in freshers’ week and semester one: “People change, life goes on.” Back then, we were finding out who we were and who we wanted to hang out with. It makes me sad but I’ve realised you can’t force anyone to spend time with you.
A note about boys: don’t rush into a relationship in the heat of first year freedom. I began dating a boy four and a half weeks after we first met. My family was shocked as they thought it would tie me down from meeting new people. The relationship lasted for five and a half weeks and the break-up was a messy, frustrating one. It just wasn’t worth it.
My advice for future university students: In addition, get to know a person before you consider dating them. Remember, it’s always good to be friends rather than not speaking after a break-up.
Are you at university? What do you wish you would have done differently? Or are you going to university this September? How do you feel about university?
Jennifer is a student of English Literature and Linguistics at the University of Manchester. She loves reading mystery novels, watching horror films and writing about her life at university on her lifestyle blog.
Featured image by: razicw