Looking back on my first term of university was a strange sensation. The time we’ve spent here has flown by and yet, by the end of last term, I felt settled enough in my group of friends and routine that it’s as if we’ve been there for ages. It’s easy to forget the nerves and the worries that everyone arrived at uni with and casting back my mind to the first time I met my flatmates it feels like they were a completely different set of people to the friends I now know.
It can make it a bit of a challenge when you’ve become embedded in your routine to switch back into the swing of home life and as all my friends at other universities headed home for Christmas I heard more and more horror stories of the transition. Blazing rows over curfews and mess left in the kitchen and too much washing. So it was with some intrepidation that I unlocked my front door after the 3 hour coach journey. Luckily I found that university had actually helped me to get along better at home. I was able to cook an edible and, dare I say it, tasty meal for my family and uni has certainly given me a greater respect and appreciation for the chore that is washing clothes. You’d think you could just throw them in the machine and be done but no, there’s the sorting, drying, ironing, stacking, putting away. I could easily end up accidentally spending my whole life just washing clothes. So while, yes it was a bit of a shock to the system to suddenly not be surrounded by people my own age who didn’t necessarily understand what ‘lol’ meant or truly appreciate the genius of ‘The Apprentice’ I did realise that my first term at university helped me to develop as a person, become more sure of my independence and appreciate the smaller things in life which other people do for you even if that’s just bringing you a cup of tea in the morning.
For a lot of first years Christmas holidays seem to have become synonymous with revision time. Obviously with our first set of exams coming up it’s natural for everyone to want to do well and try their best which is great. But when the cost of that becomes losing your freedom and ability to relax I just want to shake all my stressed out panic-y friends and remind that these aren’t the be all and end all. I think the Christmas holidays are crucial for letting yourself relax back into home comforts, stuff yourself with a whole load of food you haven’t had to cook and catch up with old school buddies. There does of course need to be a balance but I’ve found by adopting an approach that doesn’t put loads of pressure on myself I’ve actually found I want to do work. If you let yourself have guilt-free spare time where you can have fun and chill out, you don’t build up big resentful barriers towards that hour or so of revision you need to do when you get home.