From getting the infamous ‘Freshers’ Flu’ to spending far too many nights in The Imperial, my first year experience appears fairly conventional on the surface, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been without its ups and downs. I have learned that it’s ok to not always get along with your flat as there are options to make it better for you, referencing and formatting sometimes feel more stressful than the actual essay, and no matter how many times a day you walk up those hills, you’re still going to hate them and struggle four months into first year.
Like most, my first experiences of university come from Freshers’ week. It is a topic of excitement for months beforehand, but when it’s actually here, you wonder what you were really expecting from it. I’m not saying everyone feels like this, I’m sure many people had a great Freshers, but the uncertainty and spontaneity was not something I enjoyed at all. It’s safe to say that I was actually looking forward to my course starting so that I could have some real structure. Something I regret not doing in Freshers is attending more taster sessions for societies. I do wish I had been that little bit more confident to put myself out there and try new things but equally, I’m happy with what I’m doing currently.
When the term started, everything felt a lot more structured albeit much more full on and intense. I remember completing my first assignment and bombarding everyone with millions of questions, absolutely terrified of doing things wrong after the plagiarism talk at the beginning of term. As a Psychology student, I don’t have the largest number of contact hours, but this does means I’ve had the chance to explore Exeter. This has definitely helped me adjust to my life here; moving to a new place isn’t the easiest of things, so getting to know the city has allowed me to settle in.
One of the biggest stresses about first year is working out where you’re going to live for the following year, and more importantly, who you are going to live with. I clearly remember loads of people telling me “oh it’s fine, you have ages to find a house” but within a couple of days, it seemed like everyone had put deposits down. This was incredibly stressful because I was still unsure who I was going to live with. However, I somehow managed to find people to live with and secured a house within two weeks, which was such a relief. Although, I do still find it so strange that we finalise where we are going to live a year in advance.
My living situation this year hasn’t been completely straightforward. I actually moved to a different flat in the middle of January as I just never seemed to click with my old flat. At first, I was really stressed about moving, but then I realised that I’m not the only one who has had to move flats. I learned that it’s so important to remove myself from unhappy situations. The whole idea of moving to a different flat halfway through the year definitely seemed daunting at first, but it was so worth it. Student halls may be the place where lifelong friendships are made, but they also may not be. I’ve realised that there are plenty more opportunities to make friends; you’re not going to be friends with everyone you meet, but that’s ok.
All in all, my first year so far hasn’t been completely what I had expected from university.
However, I’m happy with the way that it is turning out and I am looking forward to seeing what is in store for the rest of the year!
– Lauryn Mathews