When I arrived at Uni on Saturday 28th September last year I was excited but so so nervous. Though everyone says 'don't worry everyone else is in the same boat', naturally you're still scared. In hindsight I had absolutely no reason to be! Freshers week/fortnight will be the best time of first year! Even if like me you're not keen on getting absolutely out of your tree drunk every night! There's so much stuff going - lots of parties, but also more relaxed non drinking socials! I made so many new friends and had some awesome nights. All 16 of us in our flat got on like a house on fire in the first few weeks and it wasn't until later in first term or second term that naturally we split into closer knit groups.
A few people struggled with feeling homesick. I found this is something you don't really get told about before going, most people say 'you'll have so much fun, make so many friends, have the time of your life' but no-one says 'yeah - you'll have down days too'. Going to university is an overwhelming new experience. I found in second week, when partying had calmed down (a little!) and work was stacking up that I a few moments where I really missed everyone from back home and was a bit taken aback at how much my life had changed in such a short time. I had new friends who I trusted on a night out that I didn't even know two weeks ago, I was looking after myself and had so much more independence. It was a little overwhelming.
Last week I went to Portugal for a week with 3 girls who this time last year I had no idea who they were. As I only went to 2 schools (Primary and High School/Sixthform) both for 7 years I had a pretty similar friend group throughout and I never really had been thrown in a situation where I didn't know anyone. But I now feel like I've known these girls for years!
I suppose I should mention something other than social life at University. I had no idea what to expect about the workload and difficulty of work before coming to uni, so I can't say if it's more or less than expected. Though if I say at A Level German we studied 1 book and 1 film in German for our course, it took us about 6 months to completely analyse it and we went through it in class with help from teachers, and at uni we study 1 text a week, I think this gives an idea of the difference in workload. I've studied about 20 texts this year. We have a 1 or 2 hour lecture on background for the text, read/watch them on our own then have a 1 hour seminar discussing them. We are expected to do 40 hours of studying a week, I have 12 hours contact time (i.e lectures/seminars/tutorials) and so that leaves 28 hours of personal study a week. So definitely a large step up from A Level!
I feel like I'm in a fairly qualified position to give some advice for new freshers this September/October! First of all, don't be too nervous, you'll have heard it before, but just throw yourself into it! #YOFO (you're only a fresher once!). Secondly, something I haven't mentioned yet, join clubs and societies! You'll meet lots of people who you have something in common with and is another great way to make friends. I joined the Riding Club and German Society (and the Photography society but didn't go much as it clashed with riding). Joining your course's society is a great way to build better friendships with course mates. And lastly, have fun but don't forgot about your work - no-one enjoys pulling all nighters in the library trying to finish that essay you've been putting off. There will always be nights out after!
How did your first year go?
P.S I've just found out I've passed my first year and now waiting for my grade and individual module marks! See you in October Warwick!