June 7, 2016, by Emer
Reflections At The End Of First Year
As we enter June, long evening sunsets stretching across the sky and the queue for Ocean reaching new, unprecedented lengths, the term is nearly over. For me that means the end of my first year at university and I am taking this time to reflect on what I’ve taken away from the experience.
Obviously, the academic side of university is extremely important and I’m very pleased that I can now read literary criticism without slamming my head against a desk and proclaiming “Ahhhh this makes no sense and I hate everything!” (some of the time). But academic skills are certainly not the only valuable thing to gain from university.
One of the most notable changes I’ve seen in myself and my friends as this year has progressed is a remarkable increase in confidence. Looking back at the beginning of the year, I hardly recognise the students who would sit silently in seminars, certain that our ideas had no value because we were at uni now. As the year has gone on we have all, slowly but surely, become more self-assured and independent as we have dealt with the new challenges and opportunities we are faced with. This time last year, finding and renting a house was a terrifying thing that Proper Adults did; now I’m all set to move in with four new friends in September. Things that once seemed impossible are now normal and easy.
In the current, financially-centred atmosphere, with students being described as “consumers” in the media and universities seemingly increasingly focused on the business side of higher education, it’s especially important to remember the benefits of university for personal development. We’re not just a degree factory or a door to higher-paying jobs, but a place where students can thrive and develop as individuals.
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