I did it guys!
I officially, somehow, ridiculously, have managed to make it through my first year of university! 🎉🎉🎉
It has been one heck of an emotional rollercoaster, but I have learned a lot on the journey, so I figured that I'd have a reflect upon the last nine months.
1. Procrastination is never the answer.
I have been something of a complete moron this year and left pretty much every assignment I have had right up until the last minute. This is my biggest regret of this year. I've always known that I have struggled to motivate myself with work, and this year has just highlighted that to me even more. However, on every occasion I would be completely calm, then a few hours or so before the deadline when I realised how colossally I'd screwed up, I'd have a panic attack, and need a lot of talking down to keep me calm. It's not a fun thing to do, and having done it around 10 times this year, I'd really encourage you guys not to do the same thing. Sure it's taught me that I can actually work pretty damn well and get some good work done under pressure; but it's not exactly been great for my mental state. So this is defo a point of improvement for next year!
2. Drama never disappears.
As much as the world would like you to believe it; it is a lie to say that all drama ends after high school. Yes, there is an expectation to respond to it better as you are older and more mature, but people are still people and people still cause problems. You're still going to get jealous, and angry and frustrated at yourself and others. You're still gonna make a fuss if someone mistreats you. People are still going to bitch behind each others backs, and there's still going to be the whispers of 'who likes who', and people will try and avoid confrontation, and sometimes you're still gonna be competing with someone else for the attention of someone who doesn't quite deserve it, and you're still gonna have to deal with parents' and partner's and friends' crap. That's life I'm afraid, and there's not much you can do to stop it. Like I said before though, you're older now, you're a bit wiser, you can learn from your mistakes and respond to things in a more mature, level-headed way.
3. Heartbreak hurts; but life goes on.
When things go wrong, it's always gonna hurt. Oh man it's gonna hurt. It may even feel like an entire wall coming straight at your face. Again, that's a part of life, and it's a part that is actually pretty essential. Whether your heartbreak comes from a (potential) significant other, or a grade that wasn't quite the one you wanted, or from things just not going your way, it doesn't change the fact that these are the times which really teach you perseverance, tenacity and resilience. Turns out that those are all essential things to have. That way, when the next storm hits, you'll be somewhat more prepared. Also, just remember that every storm ends- when you're in it, it's so hard to see, but one day you'll turn around and that boy who meant the world to you just won't anymore, and that grade which you pinned your life on will be just another number, and you'll see that although things went differently than you wanted; they happened the way they needed to. Things change, you change and you will come out the other side a stronger person.
4. Keep good people around you.
One of the biggest things they constantly tell you before starting university is that it will be the place you, most likely, will meet the people who will become your friends for life. Turns out that they are right. However, it's also important to remember that starting uni is a very transitory time, and you change a heck of a lot over first year, and the people you went it to the year thinking were those 'friends for life' by the end of the year may not be. I mean, they may be, but just remember that they may not be too. It's okay to think someone's great, and then realise that they aren't as good for you as you thought they were. It's also okay to not like someone at first and grow to be close friends. It's also okay to have an opinion of someone early on and then it doesn't change. I do think you need to try and give everyone a chance, but at the end of the day, there's just some people you're never going to click with. Also, bear in mind that having different opinions to someone doesn't mean you can't be friends. However, it does mean that you need to be hyper-conscious that they think differently to you, and they process things in a different way, so if you see something one way- you can't expect them to view the situation in the same way. Yeah, anyway- my point with this one is to keep your heart open to let people in, and find like-minded people who make your days brighter. Then once you find them, hold on to them as tight as you bloody well can; they'll be the ones keeping you sane.
5. It's not a walk in the park.
Obviously, uni isn't easy, and that's a big reason as to why it's not for everybody. If it's not for you, that's fine, but if it is, still remember that it isn't always gonna be sunshine and rainbows. There will be days where you regret ever filling out your flipping UCAS form, and there will be days where you won't go to lectures because you just don't care, and then there will be the days that follow where you regret skipping so many of your 9ams... There will be late nights and early mornings where you work your arse off trying to get work in before the deadline. There will be nights out which are some of the best of your life, and there will be some which are some of the worst, where your friend gets dreadfully ill, and you stupidly decide to do shots of vodka and summer fruits squash on a night when you know you are emotionally unstable already. There'll be the days where you question why you ever had any passion for the subject you picked, and there will be times when you call your best friend and complain for an hour because it's the only thing you remember how to do. If you feel at home at uni though, hang in there- because it will so be worth it, even if just for the good days once in a while.
6. Opportunity is knocking; answer the damn door.
At the start of this year, a lot of the things I said I was going to get involved with at uni, I didn't. I didn't because I got scared. As the year has gone on, I have realised so much that you do need to just dive in headfirst and make the most of the opportunities given to you. Today, I officially got given my editing rights for The Edge Magazine, for which I am now the Features Editor. I nearly didn't go for the position, because the thought of the responsibility terrified me, but I had the best time with all of the committee yesterday, and I cannot wait to work with them for the next year. Also, I love being a group leader at Christian Union. It's given me the chance to get to know even more wonderful people, and has helped me grow and develop in my faith and in life. University is all about getting stuck in, so get stuck in!
Anyway; I look forward to another two years and everything else I'm going to learn. Until then, I am going to enjoy my freedom, and enjoy the sun while it lasts!