This post has taken a long time for me to write, go over and finalise…
On the 15th September 2012 I packed all of my belongings into a car and drove all the way from Silverstone, Northants to Canterbury, Kent. Three hours later I was in the room that I would spend the next year of my life in. Back then I was young, carefree and was excited about going out and having my independence. First year is certainly the easiest of the 4 I did but it is spent creating strong friendships, memories and partying. Second year is a year spent trying to get the grades you want as you finally realise that they mean something towards the end result. My 3rd year was spent at a school gaining relevant experience and falling in love with the profession I now am going into but was also a key insight into true working life and getting into a routine. Final year was certainly a big change from working, you go back to have a pretty lax timetable for lectures and classes but then have a shit tonne of work on top of that. I found this difficult to manage at first but that might just be because I did a placement year. My 4 years at university is over, I graduated last week and I’m not sure how I feel about this.
When starting university I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy but there are certain aspects of it that can be very difficult, I’m not just talking about the work either. You are thrown into a flat with people you have never met before and yes everybody is in the same boat but it can still be intimidating and scary. You also try to force friendships to work because you all live so close and nobody tells you it’s ok to not like your flatmates. I had an incident in first year where I didn’t like one of my flatmates and she was part of my friendship group, I also ended up living with her second year. I managed to not let her get to me and we only had a few blowouts but it put a strain on my other friendships as I spent a lot of the time out of the house with my boyfriend which meant I didn’t see the girls that were my friends that much. Luckily they are the friends that were still there no matter what.
In terms of work I was fine until final year, I heard that it was tough but I don’t think I realised how much until I was in the middle of it. I had always got good results at school without having to spend months revising so I wasn’t too worried but even though my contact hours weren’t huge the workload was a lot of project work and tough. I also had a module in 3D which is my weak point and therefore wasn’t great at it, it was also advertised wrongly to us in second year so if I had known I would not have took it.
Graduation Is Nerve Racking.
For someone who suffers with anxiety of situations that are new to them graduation was absolutely terrifying for me. There wasn’t timings it was approximations which made me very nervous although now having gone through it was fine but before I was terrified. Finding the correct dress takes forever and you end up trying on millions of dresses and there is definitely a lot of stress leading up to graduation. You will also spend a lot of money on it, my gowns cost £40 to hire, it’s £40 just to graduate and then whatever you spend staying the night in the city, buying dress and shoes, it adds up so be prepared!
It’s Worth It.
When you go up and get your degree with the whole cathedral or hall clapping, it’s completely worth it. Once you finally get your degree classification it’s completely worth it. All those hours of hard work, the stress, the arguments, all paid off.
You Progressively Get Less Social.
First year I was pretty much out every weekend, whether that was clubbing, bar crawl or just a house party. I was completely engulfed in socialising and creating memories. The work load back then was a lot easier, once second year and final year came round (and placement tbh) you don’t have the time to go out, you have deadlines, higher work load and it actually counts. Final year in particular was spent with a lot more nights in chilling with my housemates around the TV but I can say I certainly enjoyed it, there is something about just chilling in your pjs and a load of blankets, eating chocolate, drinking and having a laugh with your housemates.
You Will Meet Some AMAZING People.
Within the first year of finishing university I had made 2 brilliant best friends who I am obviously still friends with now. I met my boyfriend who now three and a half years down the line we have lived together for the last 2… and now both have futures lined up for us. I can’t now imagine not meeting these people and I also have a big group of acquaintances who I will never forget.