Okay, so the title may be a tad misleading.
But today I decided to attempt to write the my uni experience type post that I've been going on about on my Youtube channel for a while. I'm probably also gonna make a video talking about some of the same things and maybe tips for other freshers, but for now I thought I'd try and get my ideas and thoughts into cohesive sentences and talk about the last year in something other than an Instagram monthly round up.
I'll start at the beginning and with the basics, because yano, the beginning is a very good place to start, or so Julie Andrews once sang.
At the end of September 2014 me and my parents packed up our car, and with it full to the brim we headed east to Nottingham. For me to go to Nottingham Trent Uni, and study Fashion Communication and Promotion. The halls I choose (GSS) were practically new with only one other group of students living in our flat before we did. It also ended up being that I was the first in our ten person flat to arrive. Yep, you read that right! 10 students, one flat, lots of fun and never a quiet or dull moment that's for sure. I can't quite believe how fast it sorta went, days feel like weeks at uni and weeks feel like months, yet at the same time it feels like I blinked and the year was over.
The first week of uni is officially known as welcome week or Freshers, the week before everyone else returns from summer where the new first years (me) get to know each other, the uni and the city they're going to be living for the next 3 to 4 years.
Our Freshers was absolutely insane, and in all honesty it's pretty overwhelming. You get chucked into a flat with a group of people you don't know, spend your days catching up on sleep and getting to know each other and nights exploring the bars/clubs of your new city, in my case Nottingham. I may have had two nights off to catch up on sleep, but I was still shattered by the end of the week. For us, it was basically just a week of attempting to come up with ways to be whichever fancy dress theme we were given that night, and as you'll be able to see these were with varying amounts of success. But ultimately for me freshers week was simply about enjoying myself and getting to know the people I was going to be living with for the next year. From what I've learnt, it's not about how much you do or in my case back then, don't drink; it's about having a laugh, being present and making an effort with your new flat mates.
Once freshers is over you may think that the excitement and energy levels drop. But when you're living in a 10 person flat (which went down to 9 as someone dropped out) with another 10 person flat next door, boring was never in your vocabulary, or it was never in mine anyway. Living in halls is an experience to say the least, and is something I'll never, ever, forget. Before I went to uni many people told me that living in halls is a character building experience, and ultimately I guess they're right. NTU don't get you to fill out a form on the type of person you are so that they can put you with others who're similar to you. You simply pick the halls, flat, room you want and have to hope for the best. Meaning I could've been in a flat with anyone, and any number of types of people and personalities. Which lead to us (after the drop out) being a 6 girl, 3 guy flat (next door was 8 to 2, so i think we did pretty well) in the end i think this actually worked for us, and the balance was just right.
I guess you never really know if you're gonna get on with the people that you're living with in first year, and ultimately 85-90% of the time our flat got on pretty well. Admittedly there was that 10-15% of the time when people didn't; personalities clashed, people deal with things in different ways or cooperating with other people just didn't come naturally (our kitchen looked like a bomb had gone off for 95% of the year, that didn't help either) I guess you have to take the good with the bad, and honestly during the first term there was moments where I'd sat in my room crying, wondering why I'd made this decision because the whole thing was driving me insane and made me feel like crap and like I was alone. Yet, looking back those moments aren't what I remember about our flat and the family that grew within it's walls. I remember the hysterical laughter, the flat meals, the adventures, the singing until 3am, the support, the cuddles, the spontaneous nights out, the new music that will forever be ingrained in my prinking playlists and always those 4 flights of stairs that killed me from the very first day until the very last.
Before I went to uni all I heard was that, you meet soooo many people. The first few weeks I started to doubt that this would ever be true for me, ever. Looking back now though I've never had so many friends, that probably sounds ridiculous to some, but it's true. Having a huge flat & floor family of nearly 20, my besties and my course girls, plus people's flat mates who you bond with along the way, and those randomers that you see every pre-drinks, i guess now I totally get it. I can say without question that I've met some of the most incredible people over the last year, people who have completely changed my life and world for the better, and I couldn't imagine my life without. Admittedly there is people I've met this year that I may never see or speak to properly again, living in halls you meet a whole range of people and they were never all going to be my cup of tea or the kind of person that you'll still be friends with in a couple of years. Heck, putting groups of girls together in a rather intense year long summer camp type situation would always lead to, girlie drama ;) But what do you expect?
During first year I also did something new for the first time! I studied a subject that I actually love plus am not completely rubbish at, like I may actually be pretty good at this thing! As I said earlier, I study fashion communication and promotion. Now, contrary to popular belief, this doesn't mean that I make clothes or draw pictures, quite the opposite actually. It's an extremely visual course that focuses on communication and promotion (obvs) of various things that are in any way related to the fashion industry or basically just things that people have a desire to buy or obtain. In a nut shell. But that wasn't the best explanation so maybe head to google for more help ;) But as I said, I like the course and I'm not half bad at it, which yano, is a great feeling! Going into any type of education and enjoying what you're doing is such an amazing feeling, now during the last few months of uni it got hella stressful but the enjoyment was their underneath, I think. Plus we went to NYC! Yep, over 100 of our course plus lectures went to New York for nearly a week, and it was such an incredible experience, and I'm now completely in love with the city. It was also an amazing way to bond with my friends on my course and really get to know them, sharing a room with someone for a week does that to a group of girls!
I don't want to sugar coat any of my experience, but I guess over the last 10 months my positive side has grown immensely, which it kinda needed to as I've always been one of those realists that leans towards negativity alot. I've learnt more than ever before to focus on the happy or just better times and not the bad, because if i had they could easily have drowned me and no happy memories would have been made let alone remembered.
Anyone reading this who's starting their first year of uni soon, it's not easy and halls is not a walk in the park. You could cry, you could be angry, you could feel anxious or stressed out, you could hide in your room, you could feel alone or hopeless, at times I did or felt all of the above. But you could also laugh until your stomach hurts, you could smile and grin from ear to ear, you could act like an energetic child and it be completely alright, you could eat McDonald's at 2am and it be 100% socially acceptable, you could meet the most amazing people and you could feel loved and accepted. You have to take the good with the bad, don't be naive about that, some moments will be rubbish, but as I've hopefully shown their will be amazing times too. I had to make myself get out of my comfort zone, make myself jump feet first and get involved yet also listen to my gut, I had to make myself accept that you're allowed to be happy and have fun, because once I did, it was even better!
My uni experience was what I made it and I can honestly say it was the best 10 months I could've had. I wouldn't change it for the world, even the really rubbish moments or days, yeah, I think I'd keep those too.
So there we have it an extremely long ramble about the last 10 months, apologies that this post is so so long. At least the sentences are cohesive and readable right? Thank you and congrats to all of those who read to the end, part of me thinks that I didn't really write this to be read, rather as a lasting reminder to myself of how I felt and what I thought 2 weeks after I'd finished first year and was no longer a fresher anymore.