Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Blog | Emtalks

Thursday, 1 November 2018

The University Experience

Ad affiliate links throughout -  Hello hello! I’ve written a fair few blog posts about my time at university, including the motivation for deadlines/essays at University, how to get the most out of University and even a video called the things they don’t tell you about University. I haven’t however really ever just sat down and talked about my experience at University as a whole. On Instagram (@emshelx) I asked if anyone had any specific topics they’d like me to cover and one that came up many times? My University experience. Get cosy and let’s talk through my honest university experience. Whether you’re thinking about going to University, already at University or have graduated, hopefully this may help/resonate with you. 
mcgill university

It’s a shock to the system - I remember sitting in my flat on the first evening of freshers week and feeling petrified. Your parents tell you not to talk to strangers and here I am, by myself in university halls surrounded by people I don’t know. Are they murderers? Who knows. After a few vodkas in the flat and then into the student union, we quickly bonded and to be honest, the first two weeks of uni are the best and when you should get stuck in. It’s a complete blur but it’s when friendships are formed. I had such a fun freshers week and even though we’ve all sadly drifted now, I’ll never forget those memories and the people I shared them with. It is a massive shock to the system if it's the first time you've left home, which for many, it is. I know some people go to boarding school or do gap years first but for me, it was the first time I'd ever moved out of my family home. I went to the University Of Leeds and I have to say, it's by far one of the best Universities. I viewed many but everyone I speak to absolutely loves Leeds uni for so many reasons. 
Meeting new people - I sat and thought, wow these people aren’t anything like my friends at home but actually, maybe that was a positive thing, it’s good to meet new, different people and expand your horizons. I met such incredible people at University I guess I’d just been at school in the same friendship group my whole life and actually, Uni massively opened my eyes and I made so many friends who may not have necessarily being in ‘my group’ at school. I wish I worked harder to meet people at Uni, I think people assume you get there and you’ve got this ready made group of friends but it wasn’t at all like that. I basically had my group of friends from my halls of residence and that’s about it. I stupidly didn’t do too many societies or get stuck in with meeting as many new people as I should have done as in all honesty, I was tied down with a boyfriend and I was so busy focusing on work too. 

Freshers week - Freshers week most definitely will help you create friendships. I went HARD on freshers week with my housemates but I’ve said numerous times, I think I chose the wrong halls because my halls weren’t very sociable. The majority of people in my halls were all friends from school and stuck in their own groups, I'm pretty sure I was the only person who had no school friends at my Uni haha. I luckily had a good flat with good people but the rest of my halls wasn't the best and I know a lot of people who were in different halls and had very different experiences and made so many friends through it. My halls were really secure meaning we couldn’t really mingle with ‘other floors’ and whilst this was good from a safety point of view, I was a free butterfly and wanted to make new friends. 

First year - So many people say first year doesn’t count and they’re right to an extent, at some Universities, it doesn’t, which is a shame as I got my best results in first year! I think first year is a great way to ease you into university life as the workload is a huge jump from 6th form too. I actually pushed really hard in my first year because I knew I wanted to do a year abroad and that’s how they decided who would go where. At the University Of Leeds, you have to get a certain grade in year 1 in order to be put forward for a year abroad. I had half of my friends not try in first year because it didn't count and half of them push hard so they could do their year abroad. Read: everything there is to know about doing a year abroad! 

Mixed emotions - If you move away from home you’re probably going to feel a crazy mix of emotions. My parents were going through a nasty divorce at the time, I’d just broken up with my ex (who would turn up uninvited in my University halls throughout the first year) and I was surrounded by people I didn’t really know, in a place that wasn’t my home yet. I cried, a lot but it definitely made me strong and independent. I'd just go through periods of crying in my room but then I'd go through periods of laughing my head off and having the time of my life. It’s normal to feel lonely and have mixed emotions, it’s such a huge change in your life, going to Uni. 

You might not walk out with the biggest group of friends - I would say first year you have a large number of friends, more acquaintances and then when you get to the end of first year, you realise it's more about quality. My brother always told me not to panic about 'finding my group' because he didn't feel like he'd properly found his until months down the line. I definitely didn't walk out with the group of friends I had during my time at University but this is for a variety of reasons. Firstly, you are in this University bubble where you are all available and all live close, most of the people I studied with live in different cities now and have amazing jobs and new partners. The majority of my friends were boys as I lived in quite a male-heavy flat in my first year and sadly, the boys are friends with my ex so when I broke up with him, I lost them too. It's a shame but I totally get it, it took me a while to get over it but if you read my how to get over friend heartbreak post you'll know all about that. I didn't actually meet my best friend until my final year, despite us being on the same course throughout Uni. It's often the people you least expect who become your closest friends. 

Second year - In the second year, the workload got so much harder, I think that was the biggest, toughest jump. I loved moving out of halls and having a house with my friend, we had freedom and it was nice to be able to have people round to our house etc. I did leave second year ready to leave everything behind and do my third year abroad though. 

Year Abroad - Doing a year abroad is by far the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I cried, A LOT but you know what, it was so worth it. I never in my life even had it on the cards until an ex mentioned he was doing one and I truly have him to thank for pushing me to do one too. I jumped on a plane to the other side of the world, leaving everyone I loved behind (cried some more, in fact, I cried the whole way there) and finally that hole was filled and I met the most wonderful friends, ever. I had so many amazing memories and truly made friends for life. Applying for a year abroad is the longest, hardest process (visas, housing etc) but wow it is worth it. When you feel like it’s time to give up, remember why you’re going to do it in the first place. I think it's worth me writing a full blog post about the study abroad experience but again, it is full of ups and downs. I felt incredibly homesick some days but I had such an incredible group of friends from all over the world so actually, rarely felt lonely. I was so busy having fun and travelling and because we were all in the same situation I could talk everything through with them. I have my study abroad friends to thank for making my University experience incredibly special. 

Final year - My final year was my 4th year and wow it was hard, it wasn’t easy but I got through it somehow, by clever planning and using my diary. I didn’t have much of a social life though that’s for sure! I was busy running a business, trying to have a social life and having a boyfriend too, it's tough but if you can juggle that, you're fine. Final year for me felt a little sad because all my friends had either left the year before or, we'd drifted as many didn't keep in touch whilst I was abroad. Everything in life works itself out though and I did feel in final year I focused mainly on smashing my degree and walking out with a good grade, after all, that's what I was there for. Read:

Ultimately, I learnt so much at University, it helped with my independence, I had SO much fun, I met some incredible people and I walked away with some friends for life. Would I change anything? I just wish I pushed to meet more people and make more friends, I also wish I changed my course because it was only in my 4th year I was able to choose some electives meaning I finally studied modules I wanted to be studying! 

Do you have any thoughts on University? Have you been to University? 

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Lots of love, Em x

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