This is a post that I’ve been wanting to write for so long, but didn’t really know how to word. But, seen as it’s just been a level results day and Twitter is rife with messages about getting ready for the ‘best year of your life’. I’m not disregarding these messages, because for some people, it truly is the best year of your life. You make new friends, maybe live in a completely new place, gain a freedom that you’ve never really had before, and it can truly be a year to remember.
But, I thought that I’d write this post for those of us that simply don’t have that experience. Those of us that spent freshers crying, those of us who felt alone, and those of us who would rather not remember one of the worst years of our lives.
Now, if you’re reading this and you’re just shot to head to university, please don’t think I’m bitter. It’s not that at all. University wasn’t the only reason that my first year was one of the worst years of my life, and I wish that I’d have had a much better experience to talk about. I thoroughly hope that you have the best year of your life and I am rooting for all of you. But for some of us that wasn’t the case, and that’s okay.
See, some of us don’t enjoy going out all of the time. In fact, for some of us, it’s our worst nightmare. Now, this never used to be me before I went to university, actually. I used to enjoy a good night out, and still do now from time to time. But I was placed in a flat with people who liked a big night out every single night, and it got draining.
At first, I didn’t mind. But it got to the point where my flat was a party flat every night until 4am, and sometimes I just wanted to sleep. They invited me at first but I just kept saying no. They were not the type of crowd that I wanted to be involved with, just because we were very different types of people.
In my first year, I really struggled to make friends. I had friends, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t really close to any of them, and it was partly my fault. I let my anxiety stop me from going to a lot of things and I know that that was my own fault, but it made me feel very lonely and very isolated.
It got to the point where zack was coming and staying Friday through to Monday (and leaving at 5am to get to work) and then coming back on Wednesday evening (and leaving at 5am Thursday morning) just so that I had as little time alone as possible. I was so so so down, and I couldn’t help but wonder how it seemed that everyone was having the best year of their life, and I wasn’t.
It became very easy for me to lock myself in my room and not leave for a few days. I was lucky enough to have ensuite accommodation so, armed with a few pot noodles, it was all too easy to spend the weekends that I did have to spend alone cooped up in bed with project runway, dreading Monday morning.
It wasn’t that I disliked my course. To be honest, my love for my course was the only thing that prevented me from dropping out. I wish I’d have joined a society when I had the time. I wish I’d have put myself out there a bit more and enjoyed my first year, but I didn’t. And in second and third year I simply didn’t/don’t have the time for those things, but in first year I did.
The weird thing is that I thought I was working hard, but I also wasn’t doing my best. My overall ‘slump’, let’s call it, affected my work ability too. And that made me even worse, I felt like I was trapped in a circle with no way out to be honest.
I also had a lot of personal events that happened that year, and obviously they affected me too.
But, I stuck it out, and I’m happy to say that my second year has been a hell of a lot better. I won’t go into too much detail about second year because I’ve written posts solely about that, but it was better for sure.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that, it’s okay for your first year not to be the best. Your second year might be, or your third. Equally, the best year of your life might be after you graduate, or before you even start uni. There’s a strange stereotype that university is the best time of your life and I get it in that you have freedom but not as much ‘adult’ responsibility, but it isn’t always that way and it isn’t that way for everyone, and that’s perfectly okay.
As they say, live and let live.
If you’re heading to university this year, my tips to you would be to try and enjoy every moment! Try and push passed that comfort zone, I really wish I had. But, if you simply cannot, then that’s okay too.