My 1st year uni experience PART 1! Moving away from home and making friends…

I’m writing this one week after I’ve returned home for the summer holidays, and I’m already planning how I can spend my next two years’ worth of holidays in my university city. Coming home feels almost like a regression in the lessons I’ve learnt at university and the ways in which I’ve changed. People expect a version of myself that is similar to the one that flew the nest in September 2017, but to tell the truth I’m a pretty different person than I was then. My interests and values have changed, and it’s difficult to explain what you’ve spent the past year doing to someone who’s never experienced university (family) and the life you’ve been leading to those at different universities (friends). That being said, I am looking forward to seeing friends over the summer. But this year was definitely life-changing, and I’d like to reflect a little on how I’ve found the different aspects of it.

Moving away from home & making friends

As you might have guessed from my introduction, I made the transition from home to university fairly easily. Although I was a long way from my hometown, I’ve moved multiple times so didn’t find adjusting to a new environment too difficult, especially knowing that everyone around me was going through the same experience. My dad served in the army, so whilst I missed him I’ve grown used to spending extended time apart from him, and regular phone calls to my mum and sister kept most of my homesickness at bay (although a few tears were shed in the earlier weeks!). The toughest part was probably being away from my boyfriend who is attending a university that is equally far from my university and our hometown, a rather vicious triangle!

I’ve never been the greatest at making friends, having a few I hold dear rather than an extensive list, and that pattern has continued into university. I was lucky enough to get talking to a girl from the flat next door to me on the first night, and we clicked pretty quickly after that! Whilst of course the beginning of our friendship seems unbearably awkward compared to now, it was a huge relief when January and the topic of housing for the next year rolled along, and we agreed to be housemates next year. That experience is definitely something that I want to write about once I’ve lived in student housing rather than halls for a little while!

So I’ve got one pretty amazing friend, and the rest of the people I’ve spent the year with are all from my course. You realise that the same few faces pop up in lectures and seminars, particularly in first year when there are compulsory modules that everyone has to complete. There truly are friendly faces everywhere, and although everyone you speak to may not develop into a great friendship, you’ll find many people are willing to spend time with you! After many ridiculous and hilarious nights out, I’ve ended up with a wonderful bunch of friends that I’m already dying to see again. I’ve known them one year, but honestly it feels like a lifetime and they’re already the closest friends I’ve ever had.

The other main reason I can’t wait for this September is my university city. Whether I’m studying during term time, or working my job there during holidays, Norwich is where I want to be right now. During Year 13 I changed my university last minute, opting for somewhere that felt accepting and like home after one open day over somewhere of higher prestige. It’s definitely the best decision that I’ve ever made! There’s much to do every single day, and I’m really trying to make the most of my time there.

If you follow me on twitter, you’ll have seen that this was supposed to a single post about my first-year experience, but I’ve written so much that I’m going to make it into a 4-part mini series that goes up over the next couple of weeks. I hope that these will be interesting to read or in someway help students who are nervous about going to university next year.

Check out my social media to stay in touch and find out when part 2 will be going up! Thanks for reading <3

– hatterell

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