This was it. The day of reckoning. D-day. Moving day. The day would bring excitement, stress and a few tears (okay, more than a few) and by the end of it, I was by myself, for the first time ever. It was monumental, and it all began with trying to fit my T.V. into the car.
At 9 a.m I woke up bright and bushy. I had done all my packing, checked and re-checked my list of essentials and was ready to go. However, this was not a quick process. You don’t realise how much crap you own until you are trying to move said crap 75 miles in a four seater car. Props to my dad, who combined skills of planning and Jenga somehow made it all fit. Granted, I had a box of stuff on me for the whole trip down (which gave me a dead leg so bad, the first people I met once I arrived must have thought I had some kind of chronic injury) but still, it all got there.
The drive down felt like it went on forever, but finally we arrived at around noon. The campus was abuzz with activity. I had been there before, for the open day, but I had never seen it like this. People were all over the place. It was a bit overwhelming, but at this point I was still keeping it together. I went off to get my student ID and welcome pack. Fair warning: this part will be hectic. It will feel like there is a 1000 people with no clue with what’s going on. However, after sitting in the queue for 30 odd minutes I got my card and room allocation, the room I would be living in for the next year.
By now it was 1 o’clock and I was finally setting my stuff up. Between me and my parents this didn’t take too long and before I knew it, I had moved in. Officially. And then it hit me. I’m here. Alone. ALONE! My mum is going to leave me to fend for myself. No one is going to be looking after me. What the hell am I doing? I not too proud to admit it all became a bit too much. I cried. I cried and I begged my parents not to leave me, told them that I wasn’t ready. Thank God they didn’t listen. They calmed me down, told me it would all be fine. I’m sure this bit was harder for them than it was for me. Remember that when all this is going down, this is a huge change for other people, not just you.
After an hour, I was calm enough to say goodbye. My parents got in the car and drove off. They actually left. I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I went back into my flat and introduced myself to my flat mates. It may feel like you don’t get on with any of your housemates, but that is mostly because you just met a group of strangers for the first time. I didn’t click with a single one of them at that time, which made me feel even worse. There may be something that you find comforting, don’t worry about using it as a crutch in the beginning. Anything that helps you settle is a positive thing, but try to balance it with keeping an eye out on what is happening in your dorm and beyond those doors!
It got to early evening and I heard a knock at the door. My flatmates invited me out to the club on campus. I wasn’t sure what it would be like but I knew I needed to try and make friends. So out we went, into the night. Campus was already a drunken mess. Everywhere, people were drinking and generally having a good time. Then, I wondered how everyone was so fine. In retrospect, I realise, of course, they weren’t. They were just like me, scared and lonely in a new place. And what do you do when you’re scared and lonely? Put on a brave face and drink yourself into oblivion. Since it seemed to be working well for everyone else, I decided to follow suit.
I’m already 3 beers down, and eyeing up my next 3. I’ve never felt like this before. I can drink as much as I like. This is amazing. I loved all my flatmates and we were going to be friends forever. (Note how alcohol seems to make every situation better?) I’m fine by myself and this is just going to be one big laugh. Then the error of judgement that all will make. Whiskey? Why not! Vodka? Of course! Rum? Just call me Jack Sparrow.
Midnight comes and goes in a blur. I find myself dancing and hugging strangers and generally being a mess. This ended exactly as expected. Me, outside, by myself, being sick. The buzz was gone, replaced by equal parts loneliness and nausea. I somehow made my way back to my room and collapsed into bed.
I was never going to drink ever again. All I wanted was to be at home and this wasn’t home. I was craving familiarity, but I fell asleep watching the Friends boxset. I was still there the next morning. I had done it. I had been by myself and gotten through it. Now I just needed to get some Paracetamol, because my head was killing me, and then get ready for round 2.
The first day at university
It can and most likely will, feel like everyone else has it together and are making friends and happy. But the truth is everyone is making it up as they go along and everyone, I don’t care who, is missing their mum. You won’t be happy straight away. You won’t find your best friend on the first day. It all takes time. But you need to allow that time to pass. Let yourself be a bit sad, it’s OK. Having a cry can be therapeutic. Just stay the course, because things will get better!
Go out the first night! Get drunk! Talk to everyone that you see! I know everyone wants different experiences, but if you don’t get out there, you let yourself become a shut in. It’s easy to go through the 3 years never having some of the best experiences university has to offer. You need to push yourself at the start and soon enough, your issue will be saying no to going out, rather than saying yes. I got talking to some of the older students, one was giving me advice on a gap year, while the other was telling me what it is like studying abroad.
That was my first day. I’ll admit, it wasn’t the best day I’d had, but it was the beginning of an amazing 3 years. A rocky start opened up to an experience that I’d do again in a heartbeat. These will be the best 3 years of your life, if you let them. Just make sure you have your Friends boxset, just in case.
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