Credit: The Rose Beauty Files

First Year of University: Expectations vs. Reality during Covid

3 mins read

When I imagined my time at university, I pictured different things.

I thought that I would maybe end up in a big city. I had thought about doing completely different degrees to the one I am now. I pictured sitting in big lecture halls, walking around a campus, and having fun in freshers week.

I definitely didn’t picture sitting at home, doing my course online, while my first year passes me by.

It’s safe to say, the first year of university hasn’t been at all what I, or anyone else, expected.


It has instead come with a lot of challenges, primarily an overwhelming feeling of isolation as the usual opportunities to meet people have been taken away.

During my first year, I’ve had an unwanted amount of time to overthink about my choices and my future.

Credit: The American Institute of Stress
Image Credit: The American Institute of Stress

I’ve contemplated dropping out and starting again, whether I made the right choices for UCAS, if I was living up to my full potential, and how I’ve completely missed out on that freshers experience.

The experience that is hyped up to be one of the best years at university.

It’s been difficult.

However, looking back over my first year now, I realise its not all been bad.

I’ve still managed to meet some great people -even if it has been totally online- and I’ve gotten involved in things I’m really passionate about, giving me good experience for the future.

As I say, its not what I imagined, but I suppose what can be learned is that things don’t always turn out like we imagined them.

Our experiences can’t always, and won’t always, shape up to be identical to the visions we had created in our minds.

Image Credit: Queens University Belfast

Everyone is different, and some people may have really enjoyed their first year, while others haven’t.

There’s no point in comparing yourself to other people, or to what they say your experiences should be like, because everything will work out like its suppose to eventually and in the way that it should.

This year might not have been how I pictured it, but there are other years to make up for it.

There was never a guarantee, coronavirus or not, that first year would live up to my expectations.

So, in the future, I think that going into things without super high expectations will be key.

Also, never saying no to a night out.

Featured Image Credit: The Rose Beauty Files

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English Studies student at the University of Stirling.

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