Looking back on my first year at university – a learning experience

looking back on first year university

By Nicole Correia,

Many of my peers are looking at the Freshers who are wandering about on campus/doing walks of shame/looking confused and wishing they could rewind the clocks. I’m not so sure. Whilst my first year was certainly full of adventure I am definitely ready to move on now. Looking back is actually pretty funny: during term one it is fair to say I struggled, I didn’t know what had hit me, and I missed home, my friends, and family. I was overwhelmed for the first couple weeks to say the least. I had so much to do, so many people talking to me all at once, so much drink to drink, so many dishes to clean, so little money and no idea where I was going most of the time or what I should have been doing. It was fun and crazy. I have no regrets - or at least nothing big that I need to pre-warn you naïve Freshers about!

I got stuck in - I joined a couple of university societies; one sports club and one social. I made friends with first, second years and third years and I cannot stress how good this was for me being the confused and overwhelmed Fresher I was to begin with; older students have done it all before; they know EXACTLY what it is like and how to help. I made a friend in my first year at uni who was in the third year and she realised I was feeling blue during one ballet class and invited me to her flat for a cuppa. She’s now doing a masters in London and we meet up at Paddington station for coffee and some serious gossip sessions. It was reassuring to know that someone cared enough to see that I felt better, despite only having known me for only a few hours.

Once I stopped being overwhelmed I became a bit naughty and skipped lectures that I felt too lazy to go to, but still managed to hand in my work on time. I got physical as a Fresher (hell yeah, I did!)…. and rented a university bike and cycled about campus (very handy when needing to nip to the campus shop in the evening for chocolate cravings!) I visited lots of people’s flats, had a surprise birthday held in my own, and seemed to spend many Sunday mornings doing exactly what I avoided when at home: cleaning my room and bathroom!

I met some fantastic people along the way, from all different parts of the world and the UK. University opens not only your mind and your own personality but also your eyes - you’d be surprised at how much you can learn just through chatting to the person sitting next to you. My Fresher year was great, and although it wasn’t without its ups and downs, I think that university is always going to be an experience quite personal and reflective; next year I’ll probably look back at second year and wonder why the heck I was so stressed about my work load - dissertation problems will no doubt hit me like a ton of bricks, but that’s what it’s all about; learning!