It appears that it is once again Fresher’s week (or Fresher’s fortnight if you are lucky!). If you live in a University city you will be sure to see scantily clad young women dressed up in different variations of their old school uniforms as they venture out into the big bad world. But taking that leap into a new stage of life is so much more than drinking games and cold pizza hangovers.
I come from a family where the prospect of not going to University was never a topic to be discussed. Now this is not because my parents are the pushy type, no, it was because that was the path that was assumed would be best for me.
My University experience was not your average three years. To start with, I didn’t manage to get a place in halls in my first year and ended up living with ‘Lukies’ over a mile away from campus. Then there was the mini sabbatical I took during second year, followed by the beginnings of my encephalitis during my finals in my third (but really fourth) year. As per usual with me, it was somewhat of a rollercoaster from start to finish.
There are not many aspects of my life that I truly regret, but my time at University is one of them. If I could go back and do it all again the one aspect I would most like to change would be the time I spent learning. For some reason, at the time, I never truly appreciated just how interesting Psychology is. Instead of going to all my lectures and reading around the subject I would leave all my essays to the last minute and do an ‘all-nighter’, therefore doing the absolute minimum.
At the time, I thought that the most important part of University life was that which started at 11pm and didn’t finish until the early hours of the morning. Now I can see just how wrong I was.
Looking back, University is so much more than that. Of course, it is important to establish who you are, and there is no better way to do that than by socialising. Learning to cook for yourself, take responsibility of your own money and mature into the human being you are destined to be are also imperative. But the most essential aspect is to learn, and to gain a greater knowledge of that big bad world. I will never have the opportunity again to learn like I did at University, and personally, that is my biggest regret.
So really, what I want to say to all of you that are just starting on your University journey is this. Enjoy your time. Establish a good balance between your work and play, but most importantly make the most of all the opportunities you are given and try not to take it for granted that you are in a position where you are able to better yourself. You have the rest of your lives to stay up drinking into the early hours but you only have these three years to learn.