Everyone tells you that the first year of university will be the best year of your life, and in many ways it is. However, in some ways it is also the most difficult.
What is so often neglected to talk about is also the sheer amount of change that happens all around you, and how sometimes it becomes overwhelming. There are a lot of things to juggle, making friends, going out, trying to organise your timetable and find classes whilst exhausted (and most probably hungover and coming down with freshers’ flu), all while trying to make a good impression on the people you’ve been told are going to be your life-long friends.
I don’t mean that to sound scary, because freshers is so much fun, but it’s okay to also feel overwhelmed, unsure and a little scared about it all too. I think the expectation that first year will be the best year of your life sometimes makes it all a little harder to deal with, because you might feel like you’re doing it wrong if it’s not as perfect as you thought. I guarantee you you’re not.
Change isn’t supposed to be easy, it’s supposed to be unexpected and unpredictable. There will be amazing high points, but you have to expect that there will be low points too, just like with everything, and then you can make sure you look after yourself until things inevitably get good again.
Another thing to bear in mind is that, whilst it is true that you make some of your best friends at university, this does not necessarily mean it’s immediate. So, don’t worry if you struggle to find your perfect friendship group in the first few weeks, or whole first semester even. For me, my friendships changed so much and so rapidly all throughout first year, and it was only by the end of second semester that I felt I really knew who my close friends were. Although struggling to find where you stand with friendship groups isn’t something people generally openly talk about, I think you’ll find it’s something a lot of people feel in that first year.
That’s not to say I didn’t have such a good time, because I really truly did, there is such a wide range of diverse people to get to know, and I’ve definitely cried more tears of laughter just this year than the rest of my entire almost 20-year-old life combined. It’s just I think too often people say their first year at uni was the best year of their life, just because that is what is expected. Personally, I have a feeling year 2 is going to be just as epic, if not more so.
So, if you’re off to university this autumn have an amazing time, good luck, and don’t worry if it’s harder than you thought. That’s normal!
Just remember sometimes the expectation that something is going to be the best thing ever, makes it a little harder.