I’m no longer a student and on July 20th, I will become an alumni of Bath Spa University. This has been the case for just over a week now and I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it. Packing up, moving out and saying goodbye were really hard, but also so surreal that I don’t think it’s kicked in that I won’t be coming back in September. It’s all confusing and scary and exciting and intimidating.
Naturally, all this leaving three years of my life behind and being thrown into the big, wide world, I’ve been reflecting. I’ve learnt so much here, and most of it isn’t really academic.
The first thing you will wonder when you move in to halls on that terrifying first day: how on earth am I going to sleep in this strange bed, in a strange place, in a strange city? Oh, sweet, innocent Fresher. You will learn to sleep through anything, at any time of day and through any early morning seminar or lecture. It’s a skill all students develop whether you want to or not. Enjoy it, embrace it. You’ll never get away with sleeping like that again.
Still on the whole sleep thing, getting up before 10am will be the hardest part of your week. Those 9am lectures will be the bane of your life and by the time you’re off campus and it takes more than half an hour between bed and the lecture hall, it might well be an insurmountable task. It happens. Take advantage of the fact that this is the only time you’ll get away with turning the alarm off and going back to sleep without any consequences.
You know how you always hear those clichés about how the friends you make at uni will be the best, the longest standing and probably the closest? So far, they’re right on the money. There were eight of us all pushed into L Block of Langton court on my first day at uni. In second year, we had to find somewhere else to live but we wanted to stay together. Four of moved to number 7 and the other moved to number 23, on the same road. Then in third year, one of my best friends went to study abroad for a year so the three of us moved three doors up and in with an older girl (who doesn’t like us, and we don’t like her.) I love them all to death and they know me far too well and Sara even wants to live with me after uni! Now that is friendship.
Although there’s a lot of work to be done at uni, and it’s really hard a lot of the time, you also have a ridiculous amount of time to do whatever you want. You could learn to ballroom dance, learn Italian, go travelling in your ridiculously long holidays, visit your friends all over the country. Do things that scare you as well. Basically, you’re free to do whatever you want and more often than not, your uni will have clubs and people to help you achieve these things. Take advantage of this time! You might regret it if you don’t; I do a little bit.
You would not believe the number of TV series’ I’ve fallen in love with while I’m here, the movies I've been introduced to, the activities I would never have attempted otherwise, the people I’ve befriended that wouldn’t have gone near me in secondary school. You’ll never be exposed to such a variety of cultures, opportunities or people that your time at university so enjoy it. Have lots of firsts.
Those first few weeks are overwhelming and everything fell away. I forgot about reading, blogging and spent every waking moment with these new, exciting people who I was instantly scary-close to. My blog archive demonstrates this perfectly: there were a grand total of 17 posts on this blog between October and December 2009, and honestly, that only increased again the next February when I rose to about 11 a month. If you love reading and blogging, you’ll find a way to make it work. And if you’re lucky like I was, your new friends think it’s really cool and won’t try and distract you from reading too much. Unless you live with someone like Sean, but then you learn to ignore the poking, having your bookmark stolen and a hand appearing on your page every now and then.
Find what works for you. If you can only work at night, work at night. If you need a bottle of Pepsi Max on standby, have one on standby. If your brain only works in complete silence, find some. Maybe you like to revise in a group? Find some study-buddies. Flashcards worked at A-level? Use flashcards. Although you’re at uni to have fun, you’re paying a crap-tonne of money to be here and I wouldn’t waste that. Do what you have to do to get your work out of the way. I have to do my essays at least a week in advance, alone n my room with the perfect playlist and my housemates have to respect that. It also makes going out or watching an episode of my favourite show that much sweeter.
Everything I learnt at university seems to have turned into a tip for those of you who’ll be off there soon, but I hope you enjoyed the post nonetheless!
What did you learn at university? If you’re not at uni yet, what have you learnt at college or secondary school? Any advice of tips for anyone starting somewhere new?