August 12, 2020, by Agnes
5 Things I’ve Learnt From My 1st Year
Ahh, first year. Before moving to Nottingham I was filled with equal parts excitement and anxiety, and I bet you feel somewhat similar. I may not have all the answers, but I can definitely share my experience with you! Being fresh out of my first year and onto my second, here are 5 things I’ve learned at university so far.
1. It’s okay to not “make the most of it”
There’s a lot of pressure for your first year to be the best year of your “uni experience” or even your life, but I can assure you that, for most people, it really isn’t. Everyone’s just trying to find their ground; stepping into adulthood, living away from your family, being in a totally new environment. No matter what your situation is, moving to uni presents new challenges. Sometimes it can be difficult to just have fun when it feels like you’re barely making it through the week. And that’s okay.
2. Cooking isn’t as hard as it seems
Before moving to university, I hated cooking because something always went wrong. I saw it as a skill that’s just too difficult to learn and I could never understand spending a long time on making a meal. Choosing self-catered halls was based more on the fact that I’m a massive picky eater, than confidence in my cooking ability. But it turns out… it’s really not that hard! Easy recipes are just a google away and you can literally make anything with a bit of dedication (and sometimes trial and error). At uni, food became a big comfort for me; I didn’t mind spending an afternoon cooking because I got a delicious, homemade meal out of it. (If you’re going into catered halls – this is still waiting for you in second year)
3. Skipping your lectures isn’t worth it
At uni, you have the freedom to choose whether to attend a lecture or not. However, skipping your lectures means you’ll have a mountain of content to catch up with on top of exercises and assignments that you’re expected to do anyway. It’s just not worth it. And if you do miss a lecture, just make sure to catch up on it asap!
4. Making friends is difficult
I was under the impression that I’m going to get to my halls and I will instantly click with every person I meet and that I will make friends from day one. Unfortunately, that wasn’t true. I didn’t let that discourage me – I tried different societies and attempted making friends on my course. This also proved very difficult. I struck up conversations with many people but not many stuck. Again, I kept trying and meeting new people. Now, at the end of my first year, I still feel like I didn’t really make that many friends – and most people feel the same! I’m lucky to get along with my flatmates, I talk to a few people from my course and have friends I met on nights out and social events. Still, sometimes, the university felt very lonely. Try to remember that you’re not alone in feeling that way! It can take a while to find your people.
5. It’s easy to burn out
I wanted to be everywhere and do everything back in September. I wanted to join every society that remotely interested me, attend every event that sounded even somewhat fun and socialise as much as I possibly could. Alongside that, I wanted to keep up my blog, continue journaling, make all my lecture notes beautiful and, of course, excel in my studies. Oh yeah, and find a source of income. Oh, and meal prep so I can eat healthy and vegan. I have great time-management skills and I’m an extremely organised person, but even armed with the trusty bullet journal I eventually crumbled under the pressure I put on myself. By December, I was so burned out that it was difficult for me to get out of bed. I put way too much on my plate and simply couldn’t handle going so long without a break. How can you avoid this? Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise. By the end of my first year, I managed to figure out a balance that works for me and I feel a lot healthier with it.
Hopefully, you found this post helpful or reassuring. First year can be really scary, but there’s comfort in the fact that basically everyone feels the same. Good luck, and reach out if you’ve got any worries!