So as I sit here this morning, working on one of my final first year assignments I cannot believe how quickly this year has passed. From the giddy excitement of last September where I skipped into uni with my new backpack and pencils, keen to make new friends to cold and wet December feeling frazzled and overwhelmed and then into Spring feeling inspired and reinvigorated following an amazing first placement.
I’ve been frustrated when the shop increased the price of a Freddo from 25p to 30p (I remember when they were 10p!)
I feel like I have gone through every gamut of emotion in the last few months. I’ve sometimes sat in lectures feeling clueless and frustrated but that’s made me go home to learn and understand what I’ve heard and then other times I’ve been in lectures that have been so powerful they’ve brought me to tears with a message that had resonated so strongly with me, it made it difficult to control my emotions.
I have at times found the uni life frustrating, I’ve been frustrated that we have to pay for parking (I’m sure I’m not alone here!), I’ve been frustrated when the shop increased the price of a Freddo from 25p to 30p (I remember when they were 10p!) and there have been other situations that have made me question myself as to why I made the decision to come to uni. A major wobble in the middle of the first semester caused me to speak to the student advocate who assured me my feelings of doubt were normal “first year issues” but it shook me nonetheless. It was the first practise placement that cemented my decision to retrain as an occupational therapist, I’m still thinking about this placement 3 months after it finished as it had such an impact on me.
Frustrations aside I have had some great times in my first year, the practical sessions are definitely my favourite part of it, I’m a hands-on person so I get more out of these sessions and I’m really pleased to have gained new skills. I’ve also got to know some of the people on my course pretty well and have had a real laugh with them, which always helps.
I’m now looking forward to a break over the Summer to recharge my batteries as I already know that the second year is a gear up. I’m nervous about this as the first year hasn’t been a walk in the park so I know that I will need up my game even more if I’m going to do well.
What would I tell a newbie first year student?
That’s a difficult question….. if I was talking to an 18-year-old straight out of college who had no major responsibilities I’d say get yourself involved in everything you can, clubs, societies and social life – really go for it and enjoy the experience before it gets really hard but do turn up to lectures!!!
If I was talking to a mature student, who’s possibly already spent a significant chunk of their life working, they may have a mortgage and kids to juggle I’d say try to enjoy your experience but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t quite live up to the giddy heights you built it up to be. It might be a steep learning curve and you may feel your confidence take a beating in the first couple of months but hang on in there, take any bit of feedback and guidance offered to you, if you don’t understand something ask and make use of the resources the uni has to offer. Oh, and do visit the Student Union at least once in your first year, they make a mean pizza, the beer is cheap and you need abit of balance in your life!