I cried at the end of my first year. It’s not cool but it’s true. The end of your first year at university feels like a monumental occasion; in the space of just a few terms your life has completely transformed and you find yourself moving out of the flat that has become the centre of your life for the past eleven months. Most people, like me, move in with some of their favourite flat mates for second year but it was the realisation of just how immense my first year had been that meant I was a little overwhelmed to be moving off campus.
People say that school days are the best of your life, it’s not true; if you’re lucky enough to go it’s your fresher’s year at university. Looking back I can’t quite believe how much I crammed into such a short time, but packing in everything you can and experiencing campus life to the max is an absolute must. The social scene for the first year was incredible and it’s amazing how that drunken first fresher’s night, singing “Oh UEA is wonderful” together outside the student union, in what you drunkenly call your Beyonce voice, can actually form the foundation for some of the best friendship’s you’ve ever had. Living exclusively with your peers for a year means you form intense bonds; you study together, shop together, party together and eat breakfast together the next morning.
My course itself really took off in the space of a year. I went from having a vague love of books and writing at the end of my A Levels to specific literary interests and strengths, and following my New Years resolution, I actually did get to know what my library looked like in the daylight hours. The relationships you form with your tutors over first year can put you on a perfect path to finding yourself a dissertation advisor (scary I know!) for third year, so if you like a teacher, go and talk to them! Their input into your degree is what you’re really paying for after all.
All in all my first year of university panned out better than I could have asked for. I found friends for life in my flat, society and course friends and found new strengths in my study; despite the stress of exams, nothing is more satisfying than seeing your progress from what will later seem your cringe-worthy essays of first semester to your final papers at the end of the year. By the time the year was up I had a strong group of friends, a great house lined up for the second year, I was an active member of a few societies and had worked out my favourite haunts and nightlife spots around the city. Norwich really started to feel like my own place and the bond you’ll form with a city, away from your parents, that is truly yours cannot be underestimated.
So go into first year guns blazing and launch yourself into everything. You’re about to embark on the best three years of your life.
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