When you’re in your first year, everything is intimidating. I feel like that’s a universal feeling? Maybe not but for me, I was kind of scared of everything.
I’ve holidayed away from home but with family. So I wasn’t all that nervous about living away from home, but I learned quickly how much effort it is to take care of myself. First year was a panic about what to pack, what was essential and what to fear instead of what to get excited for.
Everyone I’ve met loved their first year, but honestly, it was not great for me.
All I remember is anxiety and the fear to do anything. A lot of memorable things happen that I didn’t let myself enjoy as much as I wanted to. It was only come the second semester of my first year that I realised that I kind of loved uni.
And baby, I fell in love fast and hard.
Summer came like a cruel step-mother straight out of Disney. I didn’t want to leave uni and have to wait three months to go back. By then I had made friends who I wanted to spend all my time with. Found great places to eat and my favourite pubs and clubs to get messy in.
By the time September rolled around, I was so prepared for my second year. Because this time I knew exactly what to expect: I knew to pack too many coat hangers and fewer toiletries. Honestly, it was like I imagined there would be no where to buy shampoo and conditioner.
Okay, maybe it was because I binge-watched HBO’s Euphoria the week before starting but I felt ready. Kat Hernandez just spoke to my soul: that’s all I can say to defend myself. I really peaked when a girl at Fubar said I reminded her of Kat.
My confidence was off the charts. No one and nothing was stopping me from having the best year in coming-of-age-stories history.
In second year I had an incredible flat, accommodation done me good. Met some of the best and most interesting girls. From a brilliant love-sick fourth year to my best friend. All the girls were so incredible and contributed something to my life.
Second year me knew all the tricks. That seminars are some of the best places to make friends, and I made some of my best friends then. Friends who have stuck with me through lockdown. My girls who love Kahoot quizzes as much as I do and were game to ditch class early for lunch together.
And I was amazed because I thought I was late for the party. That this was all meant to happen in first year. But the thing is we all move at different paces, and sometimes you peak later rather than sooner.
There’s nothing wrong with that, with taking your time. Your people will come to you when the time is right. I know how isolating it can be in your first year when you see so many people fit in seamlessly. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Putting yourself out there doesn’t feel like a good vibe. Now we have to do it over video calls with bad WiFi? We cry for each other. But we also do not give up, because let me tell you, our clubs and societies are exceptional.
Not even because of the cool things they do but because I’ve met so many people. Would I rather be at Stirling in person than back home? Yes. But we have to look out for each other by staying safe and staying home.
Just when I thought my second year couldn’t get any better, it was cut short. That killed me and it did a number on my confidence. I won’t lie I found it really hard to keep up the good faith, the good times did stop rolling for a minute.
There is nothing remotely fun about isolating. All I’ve done is create an album of mood playlists, overspent on online shopping, and print out photos from months ago. It’s honestly like I’m living in a time capsule some days.
So, if you came here for advice, this is what I have for you: make time for friends, they will be your emotional support. Know your limit when drinking, because you’ll get kicked out if you puke in the toilets. Buy toiletries when you get there, move-in day baggage is heavy enough.
Do use all your student discounts: don’t be too cheap, enjoy what little money you have. Besides, nothing will be worth more money than toilet paper anyway.
What no one tells you is that you don’t realise you’re having your best days until they’re memories. So, in all fairness, you might be peaking this very moment and not even realise it. Like spring itself, we are transformative in nature and moods.
And we can only go forward by learning from the past, not by getting stuck in it. Make sure to unroot yourself so we can go forward together.
Featured image credit: MSN
Deputy Editor of Brig Newspaper. Fourth year journalism and English student at the University of Stirling. Lover of covering social issues and creator of 'The Talk' column for everyone who needs to hear it.