The first year of university is an experience everyone should have

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Back in October last year I had a few things on my mind. Will my new flat mates like me? Will I have nice neighbours? Will I make it through first year, or end up on the unemployment register, down at my local bar everyday? Now my first year almost complete, can I look back at the last few months of my life and consider coming to university worth it? The answer is a resounding yes.

As a first year, what stands out straight away is Freshers’ Week. We all had our expectations about what to expect from this legendary week; boozing, partying, losing all memory of the night before. And if I’m being honest, this is exactly what we got. It was probably the most alcoholic week of my life, yet it was enjoyable. Moving to a new place and meeting a large number of new people is very daunting, but everything organised on Freshers’ Week helped us all to ease into this new world, enjoying each other’s company while experiencing some very funny occurrences, involving spray painting a white top to look like Wally and wandering around back allies dressed in togas. Following Freshers’ Week I can safely say I have made some friends that will be my friends for life. If coming to university has given me nothing else, it has given me this.

Being at university changes many other things. For the majority it meant independence. Having to cook your own meals, wash your own clothes and generally take care of yourself. One year at university has certainly taught me a thing or two about independence. Before I had never cooked a thing, yet now I find myself preparing meals more and more frequently. It is expected that you will have to look after yourself when leaving home and university can act as a transition stage. Everybody is in the same boat and everybody can help each other.

But obviously the main reason we all came here was to start a degree. This is where the downside comes in. It was a tough wake up call. I soon came to hate nine o’clock starts, which seems odd considering how early school and college used to call me out of bed. If first year of university has taught me anything, it is how to handle a lecture with two hours of sleep and an immense amount of alcohol in your system. The work is tough but I think all first years knew what they were getting into when they came here. Following this gruelling year of work, we all at least can safely say we know something about our degree, maybe even enough to get into what has been promised to be a doubly challenging second year.

Completing first year can also give a good sense of achievement; one year down and we made it, considerably wiser than when we first shyly stepped onto campus all those months ago. One-third of the degree is now done, and we know what to expect in the upcoming years as we work for a better chance at a hugely competitive job market, come that day we have to go out into the real world. I would like to think that day is a long way away yet, and that there is plenty more left to enjoy at Lancaster University.

So, was spending a great load of money to come to University worth it? In my humble opinion, it was. It has been the best experience of my life certainly and I’ve also felt it’s helped me to grow as a person. In these tough times, with fees about to become so high, people will certainly feel put off by university, which is a shame as I feel everyone should enjoy the university experience. It is fun, challenging but very rewarding, both academically and personally. Ultimately I cannot wait to see what second and third year has in store.

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