This is about as uncomfortable as I looked the first few days at University…
September, to me, always feels like a month of fresh starts. January is too mainstream, you know?
No, I’m just kidding- it’s probably because I’m still at an age where my year is organised by term time v. holiday time, the most notable of the latter being the massive expanse of summer. Four whole months, now that I’m at university. I enjoy my time away from studying, but I also thoroughly look forward to heading back to university this month to move into a home with my friends and getting back into immersing myself in the academic/ website balance that I’m used to. It probably sounds a bit weird, but I’m a nerd and I miss my Philosophy classes.
It’s a new start, sure, but not as big as the one I went through last year; the one a lot of people will be going through this year. Freshers week. Oh, freshers week. I’ve devoted a lot of space on the site over the coming months to the huge emotional, social and mental adjustment that is beginning at university. It’s the ultimate fresh start isn’t it? We go in with the intention of reinventing ourselves, finally becoming the cool human we always knew was inside us, but were too afraid to whip out in front of people who knew us back when we had braces for fear of being called a fake. The Nike’s, mesh and vintage comes out in abundance for a few weeks until we realise that actually our Zara jumpers are so much more…us. For me, university became about being more comfortable in myself, shedding the things that I’d carried with me throughout a narrow-minded school experience and accepting the bits about myself that I’d grown up thinking were out of place in the world I lived in.
Cliche or not, the last year has been one of the best of my life. But it didn’t strictly start out that way; to be as blunt as I can, Fresher’s week is an absolute clusterfuck. You arrive trying to hide all the emotions, and balance them with excitement without people being able to visibly see how close to crying you are because it’s incredibly daunting once your parents drive off. You learn approximately 5000 names in the first three days, end up with contacts in your phone that are more adjective than noun e.g. ‘the football lad from next door’ and ‘the tall medic’ which either get deleted a month or so later, or turn into a joke as you actually befriend these people. For the entire first year, one of my close friends had me in her phone as ‘Camilla Unit 1’. I still don’t think I have been gifted a second name to this day.
I remember showing up with the mantra ‘this is going to be the best week of your life’ engrained in my mind by god knows what misleading T.V. show, terrified that in the first day I didn’t feel like I’d met my BFF gang and future husband (you laugh, but my parents met the first night of freshers week…the eighties was a simpler time). In retrospect, I did meet about 80% of my closest friends in that week. Some friendships didn’t seem promising at the time, some started with one of us literally saying to the other ‘we’re going to be friends, okay?’ Others blossomed shortly after I called my mother and said ‘I want this person to be my friend’. In my first week I spilled eight drinks (four on actual people), knocked someone’s hamburger out of their hands after a night out (blasphemy) and full on face-palmed the sidewalk after tripping over a bin in front of my entire building on our first bar-crawl. None of that is an exaggeration, and most of those people are the same people I call my closest friends now. It is a week that will probably surprise, scare and intoxicate you (literally) and it probably won’t be the best week of your life.
So, from someone who went through it not too long ago, here is my advice; enjoy it. You’ll be making pointless trips to Primark to buy shit you don’t need for the sake of attempting to bond with people, you’ll probably embarrass yourself once or twice and the real friendships are usually formed when you least expect them. Go forth and make memories, intentional or not, that you can share with those same future buddies and write about in nostalgic Editor’s Letters.
It might take a few weeks to feel settled, it might take a few months; you’ll find your people, and if you don’t, don’t be afraid to go and find them. Join clubs, arrange study groups in your course, speak to as many people as you can. Create a support net of people who make you feel comfortable, because for the first time in your life, you have thousands of people to choose from.
As for finding your future husband, dear lord, don’t even think about that yet.
Anyway, I hope you’re enjoying this month’s content so far; we have so much more goodness to bring, and as always, we love receiving your contributions and ideas.
Follow Camilla on Twitter: @camillaackley