By Lyndsey Anderson
I write this feature sitting in my cluttered bedroom, wondering how I have managed to accumulate so much ‘stuff’ in the space of eight months. Outside, I can hear people dragging their suitcases behind them, leaving the surprising world of university halls to return to their old version of reality. It feels like just a matter of days since I was stressing about school exam results, chasing my student loan (no real change there to be honest!) and questioning whether my mum was ever going to stop buying me kitchen utensils that I was unlikely to ever need. Now first year is over and I’m feeling somewhat sad.
The build up to university is pretty intense. Leaving home for the first time, living with strangers who you pray are not completely insane, finding your way around a new place, all really daunting stuff. But, now at the end of my first year, I have a whole new perspective on things. I came to university with preconceptions; it would either be one big party or I was going to spend the next four years of my life locked in a room with my head buried in books, whilst towering stacks of folders, coursework and papers slowly engulfed me. It turns out I was completely wrong on both accounts.
First year is quite simply a whirlwind. Between spontaneous nights out, dragging yourself out of bed with little more than five minutes to spare before your first lecture, wondering why you peculiarly have no clean clothes to wear and endless hours of chatting in the kitchen in your pyjamas whilst drinking copious quantities of tea, it’s hard to find another word to describe it. It’s an alien experience, a new world waiting to be discovered. Independence is finally yours and yet, after checking your fridge in the early hours of the morning and coming to the heartbreaking conclusion that somehow you must have forgotten to buy milk, you question your motives for embarking upon this journey.
I would compare it to living within a very weird and wonderful bubble. Days, weeks even, have a habit of disappearing all too quickly, meshing into one. I soon realised that this is really what it is all about. Yes, you are there primarily to study, do your best and come out having gained a degree. Yes, it is a vital step on your career path. But university is also about discovering who you are as a person, as cheesy as it sounds.
It’s about finding your feet on your own and meeting all different kinds of people from diverse backgrounds. It’s about gaining confidence in your own ability and realising your potential. First year has taught me many things; I have an aptitude for beer pong which I never knew existed, tequila nights always end badly but leave you with hysterical, albeit patchy memories, and there are only so many hours you can browse BBC iPlayer before you resign yourself to the fact that you may need to study, a little, at some point.
My personal first year adventure has taught me that university is as much about the people you meet, the lasting memories that will continue to make you giggle years down the line, and the way in which you grow and develop as a person as it is about the studies you pursue. My advice to any future first years who happen to be reading my ramblings? Embrace the craziness, have fun, question things, study hard and be prepared to learn more about yourself and your own capabilities than you ever thought you could. Now, where’s that Freshers Week timetable?
Scotcampus Freshers’ Festival takes place on 19th & 20th September 2013. For more information click here.