Does university change you?
Maybe it’s what you dream about- having the chance to reinvent your appearance and personality completely, in the style of Villanelle in each episode of Killing Eve (though with less murderous end-goals). Maybe the same prospect terrifies you – the prospect of losing your family, friends, old life and the fear that you will never be same again. However, unlike that good old stakeholder conflict you learn about in A-level Economics, in this situation, I think it is possible for both types of people to be satisfied! In my experience, yes, university will change you- but only as much as you let it.
Over my first year, I’ve undoubtedly become more confident after throwing myself into a range of activities that Warwick has sent my way. I’ve taken part in a dance flash mob on the piazza, a flute performance in the SU, and been an Academic Support Mentor in a secondary school (and once even taught a lesson to twelve Year 10s in a subject in which I had no experience!😂). I’ve tried 18th century dancing, ridden an electric scooter (for five seconds before I fell off), gone ice skating, attempted the ukulele, and given campus tours to strangers. As someone who would once beg her dad to speak to anyone on her behalf on the phone, and once got so stressed during a phone job interview that she forgot her email address and decided that the best thing to do was to invent an imaginary one on the spot (needless to say, I did not get this job), I’ve now got used to ringing anyone, be it a restaurant, the Laundry service, the Health Centre or even the landlord!
However, being at university has not changed my overall personality. While I’ve definitely had a lot of new experiences, it hasn’t meant that I’ve had to give up hobbies or routine activities from home that are important to me. I still like getting up early, still play the flute, still do at home cardio workouts, still go on a walk at least once a day, still cook the same foods I did at home (albeit less complicated versions 😂). You have more free time at university, and you can definitely make the most of it by ensuring you hold onto what’s important to you and your well-being.
Moreover, I haven’t forced myself to start doing activities I didn’t want to: I’m never been into clubbing, and while I had braced myself before starting university to be prepared to go, in anticipation of a night when the entire student population would be going to one massive club and I would be the only one left behind (if you’ve read my first blog https://our.warwick.ac.uk/not-the-accommodation-you-wanted-dont-panic/, you’ll know I had a lot of weird conspiracy theories before starting university), I still have not set foot in a nightclub to date. I’ve discovered that there’s a lot of people who feel the exact same way, and in any case, people who do enjoy clubbing don’t stop being friends with you if you don’t go: it’s really no big deal!
In addition, university hasn’t miraculously transformed my shortcomings. I’ve always been technologically incapable and to be completely honest, common-sense incapable. It took my flat less than a couple of hours of knowing me to work that out when on our first night we played the card game Cheat and I got confused as to how there could be 5 Kings in play. Plus, there’s the fact that I knock on one flatmate’s door at least a few times a week because I either can’t figure out how to use something / have broken something (most recently a drawer, a laundry bag zip, and I once took down a whole curtain rail…).
Finally, while university has led to making new friendships, I think it’s really important to stress that it doesn’t mean old ones have to be thrown out to make space. We’re lucky enough to live in an age of super-fast technology, and I still keep in touch with family or friends daily or almost daily, whether this be through a message on social media, a FaceTime call or sometimes even visits over the weekend. Plus, now that the summer holidays are looming, I’m looking forward to making more plans to meet up with everyone in person!
Overall, my first year has been a great experience and has challenged me in ways that I could only imagine, but I’m still essentially the same person that I was in September- and I think that’s really important. Let yourself go and be free to try new experiences and create new memories, but don’t let go of yourself. Don’t lose your personality, your relationships, your identity- because that’s the best thing about you!😊
Thanks for reading: feel free to comment below or you can message me!