Reflection on first year
Having now been home a month for the summer, I’ve been thinking back on what I miss about uni, and what I have to look forward to in second year.
I helped a really lovely lady with directions during the last open day weekend, and while I was walking with her in the direction of the new sports centre, she asked me what my favourite thing about university is. At first I found that question really hard to answer – what do I choose? – but now I say without hesitation my society, EQHO. At open days people will always emphasise the benefits of joining a society, and for me that has proved true. At EQHO we always emphasise that we are a family, a safe space for our members to dance, create, and express themselves. I didn’t dance before joining EQHO, but now it’s the hobby I dedicate the most time to.
That’s the thing about societies: before joining, no one knows you or anything about you. No one cares about how good you are at something. All that matters is a willingness to try something out. If you try it and it’s not for you, then you don’t have to go again, but if you like the vibe of whatever society taster event you go to, then you’re set. University life can get lonely, so it’s important to keep yourself busy, and societies are one of the best ways to do that. I am grateful I found mine. I am a happier and more confident person for it.
While first year has been amazing, I’m sad about a few things. Some of my friends in their final year are graduating and chances are I’ll never get to see all of them again. Some friends in second year are going on a year abroad. It means that things are going to change, and the social environment which made my first year so special is going to transform into something different, but not necessarily worse. A new intake of freshers will bring new friends, and I may get to become the role model older friend for others that my older friends are to me.
I was the last one to move out of my flat. The empty cupboards made the flat feel quiet, almost unnerving. I’ll miss the moments of banter while we were cooking, most of which started with me asking how one can survive only on pot noodles. I’ll miss my uni room, but not the sporadic fire alarms (something everyone in campus accommodation must endure). And while I’m sad to be leaving my flatmates, I’m moving in next year with five of my dearest friends. There will be new challenges to face, but we’re going to have so much fun together.
Academically, perhaps I wish I had worked harder, but I’ve always felt this way all through GCSE and A Level. There’s always more studying that I could do. With the wealth of knowledge in the library and my department, not making use of it seems a waste. Next year I’ll endeavour to make use of it more. For now I’ve come to peace with the fact that first year is intended for you to figure these things out. Living away from home for the first time, making new friends and having a more independent studying style is a task of adaption that takes time. Still, I’ve learnt so much this year: aspects of literature I never knew about, passive skills in critical analysis and the ability to question. I’ve learnt to dance and I’ve been self-studying a new language. Not a day goes by where I’m not grateful for the experiences uni has brought me.