lifestyle student life

A letter to my first-year self

Written by Sophie Kitching

Hi, me. It’s you. You, but a year older, a year wiser and a year more through your time at university. I know you’re scared. I know you won’t admit it. To anyone who asks, you’re just excited, maybe a bit nervous, but ready to move out and have the time of your life. The truth is, you’re petrified.

Actually, so is everyone else. Nobody knows how they’ll cope away from their friends, family and everything they know. Everyone is desperate to find the place they fit in. But I’ve got some advice for you. Don’t try too hard.

You don’t need to be in every society, at every social event, always the life and soul of every gathering. It’s ok to stick to one or two things – that’s all you really have time for, anyway. It’s also ok to spend time on your own. You have three years, you won’t miss out on anything. Sometimes, cooking yourself a nice meal and sitting down with Netflix is far better than another forgettable night out with people you won’t remember in five years time. Look after yourself.

Maybe you’re used to always being the top of the class. Or maybe you’ve always been the class clown. Uni is a chance to start over. You don’t have to get 100%, or even 70%, in every assignment. Nobody knows who you were, and maybe even you don’t know who you are. That’s okay – uni is the time to figure that out.

Make sure you try things you never thought you would. Maybe you want to get into podcasting, acrobatics or writing poetry? Maybe you should try quidditch? Anything goes. Find something you enjoy – and it doesn’t have to be something specially selected to improve your CV.

Learn to cook. Two top tips: Don’t keep your glass bowls on the very top shelf of the cupboard, and remember that oven gloves (or at least a good tea towel) are vital.

Make friends with people on your course. Particularly at the start, everyone is looking for friends. If you’re on the same course, you already have something in common. Plus, when you inevitably skip a lecture due to having the flu/a hangover/a warm cosy bed, there’s someone you can ask for notes.

Ah yes. Your course. It’s important, of course. That’s why you’re at uni, after all. You have to take it seriously. But it’s your first year, it doesn’t count to your final grade – so don’t take it too seriously. Have fun, make friends, learn how to be an adult, and maybe learn something academic along the way.

Most of all, don’t worry. You’ll be fine.

Love, You

PS Don’t leave the kitchen windows open – the squirrels might come in.

Sophie Kitching