Written by Jessica Alexander
BA (Hons) English
Going into your first year of University is such a massive leap in life. Household comforts, money in the bank from your Saturday job and the short walk or bus journey to college becomes a million miles from that ‘home sweet home’ environment. You feel like the most grown up person in the world, you can handle work, exams, and your family day in, day out. But only when it comes to moving away and having independence thrust upon you, do you realise a difference in yourself and the way you handle situations. I’m going to tell you a little about how my first year of university influenced me and how it made me a much stronger, better person today.
I was never really a shy person. I had the confidence to talk to people and approach others for a welcoming conversation. However, I understood that others didn’t always have that kind of confidence and as I wanted to make friends with my flat mates on first meeting, I was respectful of their personalities and tried my hardest to take an interest in them before talking about my life; this was my first step to becoming a more well round person. It’s not always easy fitting in with a flat full of other people you’ve just met. There may be someone you’ll clash with or disagree with at times, but dealing with this in a mature way allows you to have the respect back you deserve.
I was quite lucky that I made friends with my flat almost instantly and to this day we remain a tight knit group. They have moulded me into the person I am today. I have learnt so much from them and I am always thankful for their support. Because of meeting such a lovely bunch of people I now feel part of a little university family and whenever I am needed by them I am there. I sacrifice my nights out of fun to help them with that really tricky essay or I’ll run to the shop to buy them sweets and treats when they haven’t received the exam results they hoped for. I have realised that as well as having time to myself, thinking about my future and completing a degree, I can still be a wonderful friend.
It’s not just outside university happenings that have shaped the person I am today. My motivation and enthusiasm to do well improved significantly when I started my degree. It felt like a whole new chapter in my life and the incentive to do well was encouraged by my lecturers and course mates, even though that year didn’t count towards my final grade. I enjoyed working towards a goal, researching further into something and then contributing my knowledge in a seminar, when normally I would dread going home and completing a piece of homework. I aimed to take part in extra activities and joined student rep to broaden my knowledge of the university, something I would never normally take an interest in.
I would say it is extremely difficult not to change as a person when moving to university. Having that extra independence and self-motivation most definitely influenced me to make the most of all my opportunities and I would encourage anyone else to do the same!
By Jessica Alexander