I realise that I may have missed the whole point in blogging, i.e. keeping a constant updated feed on whatever topic one plans to write on – in my case this is university. But it’s my topic that has been the preventative problem: I have had no time.
Maybe that’s an over exaggeration and for any second or third years out there you’re probably reading this thinking “first year?! NO TIME? She has no idea!”. And maybe that’s a fair judgment but having experienced my first term, 11 weeks of change, stress, fun and adaptation I think the simplest and best way to describe university is SUBJECTIVE.
Yes for many first years it may seem a blur of lie-ins, tv show marathons in bed and constant going out, but that’s not to say that’s the status quo for all freshers alike.
For me it felt like I hit the ground running; a marathon which essentially felt like it didn’t end until last Friday when I was luckily transported home by my mum only to sleep for 12 hours straight. Bliss.
Yes of course there were a few lie-ins, plenty of going out and a couple of tv episodes here and there. But things completely differ for lots of reasons and I think it might interest a few people to realise why. Here’s what I think below:
1) Where you go to university: Now, I want to be careful not to insult anyone here because I genuinely do believe that each university is important and valuable no matter what reputation it has or where abouts it falls in the league tables. However, I’m at a Russell Group uni and having spoken to other friends at uni’s which are perhaps not so academically driven – in that they offer a variety of subjects not just curriculum based ones – and a result of this means more work. Work that takes more time. Work that seems more serious because you’re working with people who got 8A*s at A level versus your measly 1A* (although back on results day it certainlu didn’t feel that way). Also, private school education. I won’t include this as a separate factor in itself but I do think it’s quite influential. I went to a state school and for some reason this makes me feel inadequate: I think mainly because people from private schools are 1) used to being around other clever people (at my school I was practically a prodigy for getting no less than a B and 2) they are better prepared for university. I think that must be what you pay for – that extra uni preparation; they seem unphased by a 2000 word essay – I only did one in my whole year of A Levels (and believe me it took the whole year) and yet at uni suddenly you’re expected to knock one up in 4 weeks whilst going out, whilst making friends etc etc…And yet I seem to be the only one in meltdown mode. People say you’ll change, you’ll get used to it and I guess I can already see a change but as a first term/year experience it’s quite full on.
2) £9000 fees. Yep that’s right, as a little extra treat for paying more money we now have to work harder for our degrees. It’s a double sided argument: on the one hand more teaching hours is a bonus, especially as arts subjects can border on ridiculous for the amount of contact hours you get; BUT on the other hand you’re expected to have done work for every contact hour – so that means more reading, more essays, blah blah blah but unfortunately no more time, if anything less time becuase more of your hours are being used in contact time. The days of lie ins and movie marathons are coming to a close.
3) Personality. It really depends on who you are for pretty much an endless amount of reasons. I live next to a Physics student; she stays up until past 2am most nights just watching tv, she barely does any extra work and she still finds time to go out and be on the 1st netball team. And then there’s me – up at 9 every day, spending my day in the library and even when I am ‘chilling’ back in my room there’s still this niggly feeling that I’ve got more work to do. She has more contact hours but actually less extra work she’s expected to do off her own back, but that’s not the point. I’m a girl who needs sleep, some people can go without – therefore my days feel shorter because I go to bed earlier and similarly, if I go to bed late the next day is wasted because I can’t concentrate on a thing.
Anyway, I could ramble for hours – this was merely an overview for anyone wondering what a first year student’s thoughts would be on their first few weeks at uni. I would definitely give it a big thumbs up; I can already see why people describe it as the time of their lives, but I certainly wouldn’t say it’s been a relaxing holiday away from the parents.
I’ll do some catch up posts (shorter than this one, I promise!) on things I’ve done and experienced at uni so far in more details, so keep a look out over the next few weeks.