Surviving Uni & A General Life Update! (it’s autumn now ahh!!)

Me wearing brown brogues stood in a pile of red, orange and brown leaves

Hello! Long time, no blog, right? I don’t know about you but for me the weeks have just been flying by and I just haven’t had the time (or energy) to sit down and actually write. However, I am now on reading week at uni which means no lectures (yay!) and also that I’ve been here for six weeks and am over halfway through my first term at uni, so I thought an update about what I’ve been up to was due.

Uni has been MAD to say the least! things haven’t turned out how I expected them to be, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I feel like before starting uni, you have this ‘idea’ in your head of what it’ll be like, based on stories from family or friends or from TV programmes and films, but the truth is everyone’s experience of university will be different.

I’ve settled in surprisingly more smoothly than I thought I would, considering a few weeks before uni I was doubting whether I’d even be able to cope with living away from home, but I think because I’ve been so busy with lectures, studying, meeting new people and looking after myself I haven’t really had time to sit and dwell on things. I really thought I would be very homesick and want to go home but I’ve actually surprised myself in that sense because I love my uni and the local area and I haven’t really missed home a lot. I’ve missed my family and friends but I know I’ll get to see them soon so it’s okay! Before moving here I was determined to not come home for the first month and I succeeded in that! I still haven’t been home and it’s been six weeks now, although I am going home for a few days at the end of next week just so I can properly relax before term starts again. I think it’ll be really weird going home and then coming back to uni life again as it’s been so intense that I haven’t really had time to dwell on things, when you’re at uni you’re always busy and you just kind of get on with things.

I was really worried about making friends at uni as I’ve always been fairly shy and quiet however somehow in Fresher’s Week I found myself becoming very sociable and bubbly and excited to meet everyone. The initial first few days of inductions I was lucky enough to meet a group of people on my course who I got on with well and have stuck with ever since. I have been finding it difficult to move past the “people you hang around with in lectures” stage to developing actual friendships, but this past week I’ve really been making an effort to invite people out outside of lectures and it has really made a big difference, even if it was daunting at first.

It hasn’t all been easy though. I’ve found living in halls to be very intense and have been finding it difficult to get the right balance between socialising and having time to myself. For the first month I’d say I wasn’t very sociable at all as I was so stressed about changing course, had quite a few breakdowns and was really bad at managing my workload so I would spend my evenings shut in my room trying to cram the reading for the next day. This meant I haven’t really spent much time with my flatmates so we haven’t properly bonded, but I’m trying to spend more time in the communal kitchen now and just generally be more chatty. However I do find living in a halls there is almost a constant expectation to be sociable and some days I just really need a break from people and sometimes it’s hard to get that space, but I guess I’m still finding my feet and it’ll get easier!

In terms of my degree, as you may remember, I started out studying French and politics, and if you’ve followed my blog for a while you might know that I love languages, so I naturally presumed that at uni French would be my favourite of the two disciplines. However, after two weeks of lectures I found myself really not enjoying the French part of my degree. I think it’s partly to do with the way languages are taught here but also because I’ve been learning French in an academic environment for half of my life and I think I’ve reached the stage where I want to learn it more practically by living in France rather than studying in a classroom. The first few weeks at uni were very stressful because of this as I was just completely confused about what to do. I’d had it set in my head that I would study French and Politics for so long and when it didn’t turn out how I expected I was stuck. I was considering dropping out and reapplying to a different uni next year where they might teach french differently but I knew this was the right uni for me so in the end I decided to change my degree to Politics and International Relations. Although I am sad about not studying French anymore and missing out on the opportunity to do a year abroad, I think it was the right thing to do for me to be happy and fully settle in here. I’m really enjoying my degree now though and the modules I’m taking, even if I had two weeks worth of work to catch up on after switching degree!

I also thought I would struggle with cooking for myself as I didn’t cook often at home, but surprisingly I am doing okay and I think I am actually eating healthier than I would at home (aside from the snacking on biscuits…). I do have to rely on my mum for cooking advice though but I am surviving!

So yeah, that’s how I’ve been finding adjusting to university life so far. It still seems weird to think of myself as a uni student as part of me still thinks I should be doing A Level (sixth form will forever haunt me). I haven’t managed to tick anything off my London Bucket List yet (actually I have used the tube so that kind of ticks one of them off??), but I have been exploring the local area a bit which has been fun as it’s so different to home. I really miss being by the sea though 😦

I’ve joined the hiking society which is great to get off campus and spend some time in the countryside which always helps me to relax, even if my friends think I’m mad for walking 13 miles for fun! I’ve also joined the Student Scout and Guide Organisation so hopefully after Christmas I’ll be going to some of their national rallies around the country which I’m really looking forward to as I love camping. I’m also going to start volunteering at the local Scout group after the Christmas break as I’ve really missed Scouting after having a two year break, so it’ll be great to get back into it.

Perhaps the most exciting things that’s happened since I started uni was going into London on Saturday to meet up with some blogging friends! It was a miracle we all managed to find each other in Waterloo station considering how busy it is on Saturdays, especially when there’s a rugby match on, but we managed it! We ate lunch at a restaurant (after much indecisiveness) and then spent the day wandering around the city and it’s various parks, chatting and laughing about various things. It was so surreal to actually meet them after years of chatting online and following each other’s blogs, but it felt like I’d known them forever and the day flew by way too quickly. A massive thank you to Eve, Janet, Megan and Kel for making the day so enjoyable! We definitely need to meet up again soon!

I think that’s all for this sort of ramble-y life update thing. I have a feeling a lot of my posts are going to be like this from now on as uni life is very hectic, but you never know! I hope you are all well and if you’ve just started university, I’d love to know how you’re getting on! 🙂

P.S. I hope you enjoy the most autumnal photo I’ve taken this year – I got a lot of strange looks from both human and squirrels whilst photographing my feet standing a pile of leaves in the woods on my uni campus.

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