I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon of all these ‘x things you should know during Freshers Week’ type posts floating around, because if there’s anything I regret in life, it’s 75% of my university experience. It’s been five years to the day since I rolled up to my first year halls of accommodation, and if I could go back and do it all again, here’s what I’d want to know…
5) You don’t have to change everything about yourself! Real talk, I used university as a way to totally reinvent myself. I was gonna be confident, social, and not a giant nerd. This lasted a total of maybe three months before I crashed and burned and went back to my introverted little bubble. Eventually I discovered a nice medium between the two, but I still wish I hadn’t felt I had to become a completely different person to get people to like me.
4) It’s okay to say no! I knew before university started that I wasn’t a big clubbing person. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about that alcohol, but I’m a bar person through and through. Large crowds make me anxious and I’ve never understood why you’d willingly go somewhere where it’s too loud to hold a conversation. I know, I sound like the life of the party. I tried to force myself to go clubbing multiple times a week to avoid being that person, but as well as taking a major hit to my bank balance, I was completely about dreading two nights of my week. Once I started staying in and discussing the linear logistics of Doctor Who with other likeminded introverts, I was much happier. And those times where I did go out, I enjoyed a hell of a lot more. Go figure.
3) But say yes to things too! WOAAAH WILDCARD. This is advice that I still carry with me to this day: saying yes pays off. You’re 18, living without parents for the first time, this is when you can really figure out this whole life thing. What you like, what you don’t, etc etc etc. Despite my crippling social anxiety, during university I helped write a satirical political sitcom, wrote a controversial (and insanely popular) newspaper article, and argued the finer points of gender identity and existentialism with my lecturers. All things I consider to have shaped who I am today. And this was the year that Netflix reached the UK, so it could have all ended very differently.
2) Make friends outside of your flat! It’s easy to fall into a safety blanket of friendship when you’re all thrown together in the same situation (especially with the aid of Never Have I Ever), but try and make an effort to befriend people other than your flatmates. After your first year you probably won’t speak to half of them again anyway, and it’s always good to have people to sit with in lectures. I definitely had more fun with the people I befriended through common interests rather than a shared kitchen.
1) And finally, don’t start dating someone your first semester and continue doing so until your last. Trust me, it comes from experience. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Remember, university isn’t the real world, so if you mess up that badly you can always start the whole process over again after graduation. Say by, oh I don’t know, moving to Spain. Heh.