1 June 2015

Reflecting on First Year | University

As my first year at University draws to a close I wanted to take a moment to reflect. I didn't have the conventional start to Uni life as I delayed two years and so it was always going to be a huge adjustment. The things I thought would be tricky sometimes weren't and my challenges were definitely different to my peers.

The things I thought would be hardest:
Fitting in and socialising with people a few years younger.
✗ FALSE: Actually this was one of the easier parts of Uni. Everyone reassured me before I went that I wouldn't notice the age gap and 90% of the time they have been right.
I've been very blessed to live in a house of 16 people who are great. I do count myself lucky as I know many people who didn't settle in well with their house and it's practically unheard of for a house of my size to all be friends. I've made some a bunch of fab friends, some of which I know I will still be in touch with when we have kids clinging to our legs.

Not having a set routine or 9-5 schedule.
✓ TRUE: at times this has been hard and I've been amongst my happiest during revision time when I choose my schedule. I told myself before I went to University, to appreciate the days spent in PJs and the optional lie-ins. I tended to get up pretty early as mornings are my most productive.

Feeling the pressure to love going out all the time.
✗ FALSE: Bath is an expensive city to live in as a student so this has limited our going out somewhat. It's not a massive clubbing place and as I look back, I'm actually thinking "I'm sure I could have squeezed in a few more nights out..."
Money worries.
✓ TRUE: One of the hardest parts of being a student is relying on my parents again. I haven't had to do this since I was 15 and having no income to contribute is frustrating. Like many, my student loan barely scratches the sides and I've found it hard to accept so much of my parents money on a monthly basis.

I know I would have struggled with a job this year and I am so looking forward to earning again this summer when I start my job in London.

Relationship pressures.
✗ FALSE: I am under no illusion - I am insanely lucky to have such a tolerant partner. I travelled home a lot during the first term for birthdays, leaving dos and other events. Since Christmas I've stayed in Bath more and Josh has dutifully visited me every weekend that I haven't made it home.

Some may call it madness seeing a boyfriend every weekend, whilst at Uni... well quite honestly, if I'm happy so I'd say cheers to that.

The unexpected:
Academia & University lifestyle
Bath is an excellent Uni and this is not supposed to be a reflection on them, BUT... University teaching methods are so backward different. I think if you looked at any study on effective [and interesting] ways to learn, 2 hours of someone talking at you would never be on there.

The material gets trickier, yet teaching methods don't seem to be planting seeds of potential greatness.  All I'm saying is... University learning is a whole different ball game.

Surprise SPLD
... Or some acronym like that. I have a Specific Learning Disorder. I would go in to it, but I haven't perfected explaining it in a nutshell yet. It's made learning more tricky, but thanks to a very bureaucratic process I should be receiving a whole heap of stuff from Student Finance England. Yes it is only arriving at the end of term, but I'm prepped for next year that's for sure...

Losing sight of balance
Even in the midst of University madness, I forgot what is really important to in life. At some point this year I really lost myself. I found myself falling back to bad habits of yesteryear and hated University for it, rather than recognising I was in control.
Really this could be a whole other post itself, but I realised rather late in the year that the important things in life should be a large part of your daily life. There is no point in sacrificing so much of what I love in return for a degree - it's not worth reaching the 'destination' if I hate every minute of the journey. I started to make more time for the things I love and I was a lot happier for it.

PS. It's less than 2 weeks until I leave for the American Road Trip. So keep your eyes peeled for travel preparations on my instagram @blogofbeanie.
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