Semester One ~ Thoughts & Lessons...

By Lucy Harbron - 14:47

Ya gal survived her first semester of uni and all it took was about 100000 chai lattes, too much halloumi and a whole packet of star sequins. it's been tough obviously, but I can honestly say I've never laughed so much or been so happily busy in my life. Here's what I've learnt...

Social Life

These past months have taught me that I love a boogie and can always, without a doubt be talked into a spontaneous night out. Moving from a super small town to a city completely opens up your social life as you're surrounded by not only new people, but a new level of freedom and ease. You no longer need to run your plans by anyone, or really advance plan anything as all your friends are in such a small proximity. 

I think that's my favourite thing about uni life. I can text my friends like "coffee?" and within 5 minutes we're belly laughing over a cappuccino. Or how quickly a night out or a party is planned where one minute you're telling your friend you're feeling a little blue, 10 minutes later pre-drinks have started and you're off for a cheer up boogie. 

Sometimes it can be hard to keep up. For me, I went from having a pretty small social life, I had my best friends and that was us sorted. Also, having my first right in the middle of exams, I really wasn't a seasoned sesher before I moved, so the sudden boom in my social life was a bit of a shock to the system. But I've never been happier. 

You learn very quickly to go with the flow (and be able to get ready in approx 10 mins for any situation). Not so much freshers week as largely nights out and activities are planned in advance, but for the rest of the semester the majority of my best nights out and times with friends have been a last minute "I've got no work, want to hang?" kind of thing, or a sudden decision to go out. You have to leave your organised, stressy self at the door when it comes to your social life as when your entire circle is 18/19 year olds newly free of parental control, things very rarely get organised, or go to plan. One minute you're eating smash, the next you're dressed in a school uniform drinking aldi fake malibu with all your best friends. The moment you let loose is the moment it gets fun.

Before I moved I was definitely worried about the drinking culture at uni. Suffering with emetophobia where alcohol is sometimes a bad trigger for me, I spent a lot of my freshers week in a state of constant panic and anxiety. However, a big part of moving away is learning to fully and completely care for yourself, learn your triggers and how to calm yourself which has been something I've really focused on this semester. But honestly, it's not as bad as the media makes out. there's a million and one things to do that don't involve drinking, and everyone I've met is so chill and accepting of other peoples opinions and limits when it comes to that sort of stuff. 

All my fears were so quickly dispelled while my expectations were met and beat. 


My faaaaaaave bit. 

Ahh uni you beautiful little promising pool of new friendships and bonds, the big shiny sea of smiling faces. It's as great as everyone says it is. 

My biggest fear about moving was making friends, dealing with having had a crappy time in secondary/college with friends and being pretty shy and introverted, the thought of having to introduce myself to new people sent shivers up my spine. And really I started on a bad foot. I suffered terribly with anxiety and soul-crushing panic/homesickness during my first couple weeks that I really clung to my friend from home and my flat, I shut myself off and really made 0 effort to talk to new people apart from a couple girls from my course that I talked on on facebook before moving (which is literally the best thing you can do). But after reading week I made an effort and it's payed off. I'm suddenly surrounded by the most incredible people ever. All I wanted from uni was a solid little girl gang, and wowzas I got it. The women surrounding me are the smartest, funniest, strongest most incredible gals I ever did meet and every time we hang out I feel so privileged to know them. So many smiles and belly laughs.

The speed of friendship at uni is like lightning. The proximity, the ease of organising to hang and the total freedom means that it's so easy to slip into that immediate, intense beautiful kinda friendship where one day you're going for that first coffee and a week later you know all each other dirty little secrets and you're borrowing sesh garms from each other. Being at the same school surrounded by largely the same people for 7 years, moving to a new place and having this amazing new open opportunity to bond with new people has been the best and I really feel like I've come out of this semester as the best version of myself (cringeville)


The most boring of them all but still a 10/10.

For those that don't know, I study English Literature and Language. If you're thinking of doing the same course I'd really recommend looking into the content of your course/uni as some universities don't have a specialist lit/lang department so you have completely separate sides of your course. I'm lucky that Sheffield has an amazing department so my classes combine the two aspects which is exactly what I wanted.  

However, semester one is painful. I've battled through the most boring modules of basic theory and introduction to things like grammar, prose and speech sounds, and older students have promised that semester one is the lowest point of the degree. You're often left in the dark as the jump between the hand holding approach of college to the independence of uni level study definitely took us all by surprise as you're sent off to write essays without three months of essay prep and classes on HOW to write the essay like you get in school. But it's so rewarding and interesting. As much as it can feel tenuous, even my basic modules have taught me so much and I've found areas of my subject that I never thought I'd be interested in but actually love. 

A lot a lot a lot of people drop out in semester one as it really is a sink or swim kind of situation, or maybe more a sink or float. It's very easy to get left behind as the work and reading is constant, and for me, I struggle knowing when to switch off from work as you're basically living in your school. But that's all part of the learning experience, and semester one has really just been me trying to get into a routine that works and keeps me on top of work as well as allowing room for my growing social life. It's tricky, but do-able. I think a lot of the issues come when people never really get out of the freshers week mentality and forget that uni is now there home and they need to function rather than just survive. The balance of study, looking after myself (food wise, mental health wise, sleep wise etc) and social life is something I've never really had to handle before living at home, but when you crack it, it gives you a whole new level of independence and understanding of something called adulthood that everyone keeps talking about??

Let me know about your uni experience, or if you're applying to uni feel free to ask me anything on social media, I'm your gal. Here's to semester 2.

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