Things I Love About Uni!

As you are probably aware if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I do like a bit of a rant about uni. So, I thought it was time to spread some positivity on my blog – both for your sake and mine – by sharing with you some of the things I love about being at university!

Meeting New People

I’ve never thought of myself as being very good at meeting new people, but I suppose that’s because at home I’d gone through primary school, secondary school and college with pretty much the same people so I was rarely in a situation where I could meet new people. However, since coming to uni I have discovered I absolutely love meeting people from such a diverse range of backgrounds. Being close to London, my university is quite international which means I’ve met people from all over the world, as well as around the UK, and I find it so interesting learning about other people’s cultures and experiences. At first it was a bit daunting being in a place where I knew no one, but you’ve just got to remind yourself that 99% of other freshers are in the same position! I love the fact that there are so many people here to meet and there’s always new opportunities to get to know new people through your course, societies, mutual friends or even just bumping into people in the library. I’ve also been able to meet more like-minded people which is such a refreshing experience – and slightly mind-blowing – when you meet someone who may have had a completely different upbringing to you but you still perceive the world in a similar way!

Exploring a New Area

If you know me well you’ll know that I am very much an adventurer and that exploring new places makes me feel alive! I didn’t know much about the area of the UK that my university is located in before coming here (and to be honest I still don’t!!) but being somewhere completely different to home means there’s always new places to discover. I’m quite a restless person and don’t like being in one place for too long, so often if I have a day or an afternoon off I’ll go on a spontaneous trip somewhere. For example, I went into London to wander around and look at the Christmas lights. I’ve only been to London probably less than 10 times in my life so there is still so much of it to explore and I really don’t know my way around! I also go walking a lot, mainly because I’ve joined the hiking society and also because I just love walking. Last week I went on a two hour hike in between my lectures just because the sun was shining and I wanted to get out and about. I really do love where my university is, even though it’s a campus and not in a city, I love the surrounding area and how it’s so close to London and lots of other interesting places to explore.

Cooking

Before coming to uni, I actually really didn’t enjoy cooking but now, surprisingly, cooking dinner has become one of my highlights of the day. I really love having the freedom to buy my own food and cook what I like – not that I didn’t like my parents cooking at home, but it’s so satisfying to sit down and eat something you’ve taken the time cook! I really love trying new recipes and experimenting with different ingredients and I find cooking dinner helps me to relax after a day of studying. I’ll be sharing some of my favourite meals in a post soon! 🙂

My Degree

I am actually really loving my degree! You may remember I changed degree at the start of uni as studying French didn’t really work out how I wanted it to, and for a while I was a bit unsure whether Politics and International Relations was right for me as I always saw myself going into a career related to languages, but the more I study the more I realise this is the right path for me. I really feel like I’m learning about how the world works and what problems we’re facing on a global scale and it’s made me realise that i want to go into a career that will help make a difference to some of these global issues. My degree kind of encompasses all the bits I loved from studying geography, history and politics A Level as well as completely new stuff like philosophy which I find my mind is really in tune with, I’ve always like philosophising about thinks and I love the way that studying philosophy makes me think about the world today!

Every Week is Different!

Literally the weeks at uni fly by as I’m always busy doing one thing or another, and I love the variety of things I get to do here. my uni is really goof at putting on lots of events and although I don’t go to all of them, I have been to some like pet therapy and the Christmas market (we had ACTUAL reindeer!) which I’ve really enjoyed. Also I find each week my friendships with people change and grow – some weeks I become closer to some people and then the next I’ll grow closer to others. With every week I spend here, I feel a little bit more like this is the place for me.

My Room

I’m not going to lie, decorating my room was probably the thing I was most excited for when coming to uni. I’ve spent a lot of time making it feel homely and I absolutely love it!! my accommodation in general is just really nice and modern and I’m so happy with it. Also, I have an amazing view from my window, especially in the autumn – can’t wait to see what it’ll look like in spring!

So, that’s a few of the things I’m loving about uni so far!! I’m sure by the end of the year there will be many more!

If you’re at uni, what are you loving so far? And if you’re going to uni soon, what are you most looking forward to? 🙂

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When uni gets you down

I feel like all I write on here is rambling, negative posts about university and I’m sorry, I’m trying to be more positive and I want to get back into blogging properly but it’s hard when you’re not feeling yourself. In all honestly, I’m not coping with university very well. I mean, anyone looking in from the outside would disagree – academically I am doing well, I turn up to all my classes, I do the work, I have made friends and I am managing to cook for myself but on the inside I do not feel happy, or as happy as I could be.

One of the hardest things I’ve found about being at university is that you are the only person that knows who you are. It’s taken me a while to put my finger on it, but I think this is been something I’ve been struggling with ever since I got here. Sure, starting at a university where you know nobody would be hard, I knew that, but I it’s not hard in the way that I thought it was. Making friends has been fairly easy as everyone wants to make new friends as much as you do, but it’s really, really hard feeling like even the friends you have made don’t really know who you are and that they all have different perceptions of you, none of which reflect your true self.

As someone who has never had a strong sense of identity (hence my various crises over sexuality) and has never been very self-confident, being somewhere where I don’t have my friends and family to remind me of who I am is very difficult. I just feel lost, to be honest, like I’m not living my life anymore and I’m just doing things because that’s what I’m expected to do or that’s what other people think I should be doing. I don’t feel like the life I’m living reflects my inner values and self and I don’t know what I can do to fix it.

I make it sound like I don’t like university at all, which is not true because generally I like living away from home and being independent, I am enjoying my course even though I’m still a bit shaken up and uncertain if this is the right path for me after changing my degree in first term, I do have some friends and sometimes do fun stuff with them, but there’s this recurring feeling of being lost and not feeling like I fit in here or that being at uni is the right thing for me at all. Quite honestly, all this thinking and questioning is exhausting.

I do spend a lot of time by myself at uni as I don’t have many contact hours and I haven’t really clicked with my flatmates, which is fine when I’m having a good day as I don’t mind my own company and I sometimes find socialising tiring after a while anyway, but when I’m tired or stressed or something happens which triggers a negative spiral of thoughts, I really struggle being by myself as I spend too much time in my head.

It’s frustrating because I want to enjoy myself at university and I don’t want to be held back by this mess of thoughts, but I just seem to be stuck in a never-ending cycle of feeling down and lost at the moment.

I try not to talk about how I’m feeling with my friends and family back home as I feel like it’s hard to understand unless you’ve been through the same thing. As far as they’re concerned, I’m having a great time at university and my parents couldn’t be happier that I’ve settled in ‘so well’. Even with my friends at uni, I feel like I can’t open up to them because if anything I feel like they’re having a much better time than me and I don’t want to feel like a burden.

I’m not sure what this post is meant to be, I just have a lot of thoughts and I need to get them out.

I hope you’re all doing well and I really hope I can find the energy to write some positive posts about uni life sometime soon. For now I’m just going to try to work on taking care of myself because I want this term to go better than the last!

November wrap up!

Hello! It’s December yay!! In two weeks time I’ll be at home, beginning my month-long Christmas break which I am honestly so ready for. Today I thought I’d wrap up November by recapping what I’ve been up to, as well as some things I’m looking forward to in December. Time passes so quickly at university that it feels like I’ve done so much yet nothing at all, so it will be nice to look back at the past month!

Meeting bloggers!

I think I mentioned this in another post but at the beginning of November I met up with Megan, Kel, Eve and Janet and spent the day wandering around London, it was such a  lovely day!

Going home!

My university had a reading week at the beginning of November too which essentially consisted of a week of no lectures to help us catch up on reading and work on our assignments. On the Wednesday of that week my mum and my sister came to visit, I showed them around my uni and we went shopping and ate out in the local town. Then my mum and I got the train home and I stayed until the Sunday. It was so weird being home, it almost didn’t feel like home anymore, but it was lovely to spend proper time with my family. We went to see Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema, we watched our local illuminated carnival even though it was tipping it down and I also went to the Remembrance Day service. I also managed to see one of my friends who had come back from uni too so that was great!

Fantastic Beasts

Me and three of my uni friends went to see Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with it as the first film was so good, but it was a good evening nonetheless!

Essays…ugh

I had three 2000 essays due in this month which each contribute to 25% of my grade for each of those three modules. Honestly I got so ridiculously stressed whilst writing these essays that it was making me ill as I couldn’t sleep and felt constantly exhausted and dizzy. It was not fun so next time essays are due I definitely need to manage my time better, try not to panic and make sure I’m sleeping and eating properly. 

Birthday!

Last Wednesday was my birthday! It was so weird not being at home, seeing my family or doing our usual birthday traditions, but I did have a nice day. My family had sent some cards and parcels to me so I did have some presents to open, then two of my uni friends took me out for brunch which turned into a shopping spree!

I also met up with my sister again last weekend as I was so stressed I just needed to get out of uni, so we met up in a town halfway between her uni and mine. Something I’ve learnt whilst being at uni is that sometimes you just need a bit of normality because everything can get overwhelming very quickly, so seeing family or talking to friends from home can really help you to put things in perspective.

So that’s how November panned out, now some things to look forward to in the coming month.

Obviously Christmas break is what I’m most looking forward to – I get to go home for a whole month and I can’t wait! I think coming up to the Christmas period I’ve been more homesick than previously as at this time of year I just want to be around my family. However I haven’t got long to wait! 

I’m really looking forward to just spending evenings with my family, playing board games and watching TV. I’ll also be going to Devon and Yorkshire to visit my grandparents which will be great as I haven’t seen them in about a year.

I’m really looking forward to catching up with my friends from home too as we’ll finally all be in the same place.

I’m sad I don’t have time to do Blogmas this year, but if any of you are, let me know as I’d love to keep up with your posts!

I think that’s all for now, sorry this post has been a bit all over the place!

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.

Trains of thought

We just walked my sister to the train station to see her off one her way back to uni. I love going to the train station – it reminds me of the endless possibilities of travelling and leaving my home behind me for a little while. Over the past year or so, I have waved my sister off on the train many times. The best times are when the sun is blazing between clouds, the sky is blue and everything feels all summery and cheerful. The suns rays merge into little sunset-coloured drops in the corners of my glasses. It makes me feel optimistic and gives me a tiny glimpse of how beautiful the world really is.

The sun is setting as I’m typing this away, but I’m listening to a “2016 summer hits” playlist on Spotify to keep the sun alive. 2016 was a good summer for me and it’s nice to listen to the music that accompanied my many hours of studying for GCSEs and the various places I traveled to.

It’s weird thinking that in less than a year it’ll be taking the train off to uni. The thought of living somewhere new is both exciting and scary but hope I can hold onto this feeling of optimism and longing to explore to get me through all the stress that the coming months will hold.

It may sound stupid, but the run up to summer is one of my favourite times of the year. Sure, revision and exams are stressful, but when as the days get longer and less-cold, I feel more motivated to study, more productive and generally more happy. I’m looking forward to that!

I should probably get back to doing my homework, but I just wanted to document this little collection of thoughts beforehand.

Goodbye for now!

(Do you like my title though, I tried to make a pun)