After two straight years of slaving away over poorly written text books, haggling for those few extra coursework marks and developing a deep emotional connection with the college coffee machine, you turned up on results day (let’s be honest, fearing the worst) and found out you’d actually managed to swing the grades you needed to get into your first choice uni. That’s the hard part done, right? You’re about to embark upon the ‘best years’ of your life, free to spend the rest of the summer planning freshers, shopping for Bluetooth speakers and wondering how much Jaeger you can realistically bulk- buy from Makro.
Such is the excitement of the whole affair (the prospect of no more “Where are you going?” “What time will you be home?” “It’s your turn to load the dishwasher”) that it isn’t until the weekend before you’re due to move that it dawns on you: you’re actually leaving.
Suddenly, you start thinking less “I can’t wait to go,” and more “Am I supposed to get all these books on the reading list?” “What if my flat mates are messy?” “Mum, how d’you make toast again?” Yes, it’s exciting, but it’s also scary, and it serves as a reminder of all the things you haven’t quite got figured out yet.
Yep. You’re a nervous fresher. But don’t be worried, we all are.
Family… because as much as you hate to admit it, you probably need your parents more than you think.
Who’s going to make your doctors appointments for you? Make sure your laundry is properly separated? Who d’you ask when your car starts making that noise it hasn’t made before? Apart from suffering the occasional humiliation of an accidentally- died- blue shirt, and being forced to acknowledge that energy drinks are usually the best cure for a cold, most of this stuff you’re going to get over pretty quickly. But missing the ‘rents, your dog, even your little sister, is a little trickier to navigate.
The best thing you can do is to make sure you’re settled into your accommodation before you go back home to visit, and if you miss them that much, try and text them every day- they’re probably missing you too. Oh, and call your Mum once in a while – it’ll make her day.
Friends… because after you’ve spent the past two years seeing the same faces every single Monday morning, you might actually miss them when they’re gone.
Had you even considered how strange it would feel making plans for the last time before all your mates moved away? Or how (however trivial it sounds) seeing Bitmojis disperse across the Snap map makes you feel a lot sadder than it should? It’s normal to be wary about replacing your friends from sixth form with some questionable housemates you’ve only ever communicated with through a Facebook group, but once you’ve spent a few weeks getting used to them (stealing the last of their milk, arguing over who needs the shower first, holding their hair back when they’ve drank too much,) these ‘questionable’ traits are going to be what makes you love them, and soon you’ll be wondering how you ever managed to survive without them in the first place.
Money… because student loans aren’t always going to go as far as you think.
You’ve probably found yourself wondering why you’re paying such extortionate prices for a single bed and a shared bathroom, fretting over how you’re ever going to pay it back- and who knew you had to pay a TV license? Okay, so it’s not going to be the relative luxury you’re used to: you’ll consume a lot more pasta and cheap beer than any dietician would recommend, you won’t always have a new pair of shoes every time you go out, and you’re probably going to have to stop spending all your spare change on iced coffees from Starbucks. But remember there are lots of options: Unidays accounts, NUS cards- student discounts are your friend! And everyone knows the debt is scary, but there’s another half a million students all across the country in exactly the same position as you, so at least you’re not the only one.
Your degree… because amongst this whirlwind, it’s easy to forget that’s what you’re actually going to uni for.
Who amongst us hasn’t been told that “the jump between A level and Degree is much easier than between GCSE and A level, it’ll be easy”? Yes, you might be used to strict deadlines and fitting in loads of pointless adjectives just to reach your word count, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’ve got a reading list as long as your arm, with no time to get through it, and you’re suddenly expected to be fully competent in your course when, in reality, you probably haven’t even picked up a pen all summer. It doesn’t really matter. You could have all the time in the world, and it’s guaranteed you’ll leave at least one assignment until the night before. It’s daunting, but you have to remember that you picked this course because you want to do it, and if you did that, then odds are you might even enjoy some of the work.
So about that old cliche –
“University is going to be some of the best years of your life”.
Everybody is a bit daunted by that one – dont feel left out. So it’s okay to be nervous. Everybody is, and if they say they aren’t they’re either lying to you or themselves.
You’ve definitely been told that old cliche at least once before, whether by a teacher, a friend, or anyone else who’s already been there, and so of course knows that your experience is going to be exactly the same.
*cue eye roll*
Actually, they’re probably not far off, but it’s okay if it doesn’t feel like it straight away. Just remember not to take it too seriously, that you’re never alone, despite what you might think, it is actually supposed to be fun.
By Emily Goodwin