Somehow, although I’m not quite sure how, my first year at university has come to an end. I never wanted to say this, but I am a fresher no more. It’s slightly concerning because next year people will expect me to know things. I’ll be a second year expected to know where things are, how things work and what’s going on. Particularly as I’m going to be a fresher’s rep, responsible for helping freshers settle in and get around throughout their first year. I am slightly concerned for my freshers; we had to fill in a form finishing the sentence ‘I’ll know I’ve been a good a fresher’s rep when…’ to which everyone put ‘my freshers feel like they can really trust me’ or ‘my freshers feel welcome and comfortable in their transition into university’. I put ‘if I end the week with the same amount of freshers I started with’.
I have learnt an awful lot this year, and not just through my course although going home for the holidays I get asked things like ‘what do you want to do when you graduate and how are you going to use your degree?’ At the moment, my biggest decision in life is whether I want chips or curly fries, not to mention whether I want ketchup or BBQ sauce. I got asked where I was going to live after university; whether I was staying up north or coming back home, I don’t even know how I’m getting home tonight.
I have learnt a lot about life and literature though. I have learnt a new and exciting love for literature. I have also learnt to reevaluate the meaning of the word “essential” when it comes to “essential reading” and that Sparknotes just before a seminar is a perfectly legitimate learning/revision tool. (Sparknotes: a roughly GCSE level online study guide that every university student will use and no university student will admit to.) I have learnt never to trust a maximum fill line on a washing machine (when it costs that much, if it fits in, it’s going in) or to trust the sensitivity of fire alarms (just because it’s going off, does not mean there’s a fire). I have learnt that you most definitely do not need alcohol to have fun (although in the case of some people, I have learnt that you also do not need fun to have alcohol) and I have learnt to differentiate between what my heart says and what my bank account says. I have also learnt all the words to Stacy’s Mom.
I’ve had the most incredible year, undoubtedly the best one yet, particularly if we’re including my last summer and with all the amazing people I’ve got to know at university. This has included approximately thirty nights out, eight weekends away and an awful lot of nights in on campus whether that be a lads night of football, poker and pool in the bar with combo takeaway boxes for one or a girls night of films, hot chocolate and ice cream, they’ve all been great. Although, as always at university, things do have the tendency to go a little wrong sometimes and often when asked how things went, I find myself answering ‘on the whole great, but…’ How did your first march go? On the whole great but my euphonium is now held together with an obscene amount of duct tape. How did the exam go? On the whole great but I swore at the end and now I’m not sure it was entirely appropriate. How was Text for a Toastie? On the whole great but we melted a toaster, let off toxic fumes and all had to evacuate. So I guess university is all about learning to overcome the little obstacles in life even when you ask a friend how their night out was and you find out, on the whole great but they fell asleep in the shower and flooded three flats. So, with all this learning, I think I can say I almost definitely feel £9,000 smarter.
So, am I more grown up? Absolutely not, if anything, university decreases your adulty matureyness. Am I ready for real life? Absolutely not, but I’ve got another two years to work that stuff out and I can’t wait. The places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen, the people I’ve known and the ways that I’ve grown (obviously not physically); I wouldn’t have exchanged this year for anything in the world 🙂