Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The joy of returning to uni (and no longer being a fresher!)

This time last year, I was one nervous student-to-be. Spending my last week with my family before leaving home for the first time and heading off to start my new university life was something of a big deal. Oh! How excited I was to experience the infamous "Freshers' Week" (and terrified by the stories of my old school friends who had already started their terms) and find out what student life was all about.

That was the thing, it was all unknown. Don't get me wrong, Freshers' is great. But it's weird (I'll expand on this further down). And I for one can't wait to go back to uni for my second year. This time, I know the uni. I know where everything is. I know my way around the city (for the most part, anyway). I know how everything works. But most of all, I know my friends. It's really bizarre not seeing most of them for three months or so over our ridiculously long summer holiday which makes me even more excited to catch up with everyone again. We will all look at the new freshers, smile, shake our heads and sigh as we watch their nervous excitement, bewildered expressions and social awkwardness. "Remember last year when that was us? What were we like, eh?" *rolls eyes* Obviously as second-year uni students we are much wiser and knowledgeable about EVERYTHING.

We got free beauty stuff yay!
Freshers' week is bizarre, but it is undeniably a lot of fun. I remember fighting back the tears (all right, a few may have escaped) as I waved goodbye to my parents, before finding all the other freshers sitting on the grass outside my halls in little groups. "EVERYBODY'S ALREADY MADE FRIENDS!" I thought to myself, terrified. But then I went and handed round home-made cookies to my neighbours and everything was fine. Baking saves the day.

The other day, I found myself looking back at some pictures from the first night of Freshers' week last year - there we were, grinning with our arms round each other as if we'd been friends forever, faces painted with neon spots and stripes, clutching our plastic cups for confidence. Good times. Over the course of that week, I dressed up as Princess Jasmine, a school girl, a cat, a bear, head-to-toe pink and wore a onesie on nights out. Pretty standard Freshers' week, I'd say. The one thing that stands out to me from my Freshers' pics (apart from my slimness before a year of meals in halls) is how much fun we're all having. What's great is that everyone's in the same boat during Freshers'. We were all nervous and excited. I like to think that I wasn't the only one who cried in my beautifully-decorated-to-make-up-for-the-sixties-style-furniture room a couple of times that week.

Standard checklist for a freshers' bar crawl.
As much fun as it was, going back to somewhere you're settled and comfortable is a really nice feeling. Although I'm moving into a new house (I'm not sure I could handle another year in halls!), it feels as if I'm going back to a home away from home. Not only am I looking forward to getting back to the city and seeing my friends, but I'm also reeeaaally psyched to start my course again as my modules for the year sound super interesting to me. At the end of the day, as much as the student lifestyle is a ball, if you aren't interested in your degree you're going to make uni life much harder than it should be. And second year is where the hard work will really kick in (or so naive little fresher me was told!) In a few weeks I'll probably be up to my eyeballs in essays and wishing to be a fresher again. Or maybe not. Either way, I'm excited.

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