You’ll be starting university three months from now, and I know you don’t know what to expect. You can’t imagine living away from home, taking care of yourself in an alien city, and having to make your way in a strange educational system. But I’m just about to graduate, and I have to tell you: it’s not as scary as you might think.
You will settle into your new flat straight away. Your flatmates will be the most important people in your life for years to come and you’ll end up living with them throughout your undergraduate career. The friendships you make will last, so don’t be scared to go up and talk to people. Have fun, relax and enjoy first year! It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get the hang of things straight away. I would advise you, however, to get involved in a society now, and don’t leave it until the end of your second year. Take that leap and join Theatre Group, because you’ll always wish you had done otherwise. Write that article for the Wessex Scene. You’ll develop a fondness for cheesy chips and burger sauce after a night out, and then realise how disgusting burger sauce is by the end of the year. Beware of the dry ice in Whitehouse. You will never go to Kaos, the club directly opposite your halls, despite constantly saying you will. Making tuna pasta bake really isn’t as hard as you think, and neither is casserole, really. And by the way, that hand-sewn elf costume for Christmas 2009 will be the best thing you’ve ever made… along with the spider costume for Halloween… and the time you went as the Ocean on an underwater-themed night out….
Flat 203 ready for the the Fresher’s UV Party, September 2009
Second year is not going to be as much of a change as you might expect. You still have time to have fun and chill out, and you’ll look back at it with real fondness, even if you’re not going out every other night like you used to. You’ll begin to realise that not every Monday night has to end with an evening in Bliss. Regular screenings of Don’t Tell the Bride and Million Pound Drop will brighten a quiet evening in, accompanied of course with tea and copious dark chocolate digestives. Don’t be scared to go up for Lifestyle Editor in May 2010: you’ll do a fine job, and the people you meet will make it all worth it. Trust me; you’ll grow to love that crumbling student house of yours with the awful garden and wonky sink. Just invest in a pair of thermals before third year – winter is cold when your parents aren’t paying for the heating!
Snow = cancelled lectures, a standard snowman in the back garden and five very excited 20-year-olds….
Third year is tough. Let’s face it, we all know it; you know it before you’ve even started university. There’ll be late night study sessions, moments of tears and frustration and many chocolate binges blamed on stress. The word ‘Dissertation’ will send shivers down your spine and make your hair stand on end. But you’ll graduate with a grade you never thought you’d get, you’ll write a great dissertation on American Poetry, and you’ll be elected as Deputy Editor alongside a fantastic new team for the magazine. The work is tough but you’ll come out still wanting to study more. Apply for your Masters with less hesitation. Third year doesn’t kill you, and you leave with a healthy addiction to How I Met Your Mother and a fondness for that run-down house you nearly cried at when you first moved in. You will cry when you move out though, as much as you try not to. But you’ll be ready to move on. Just about.
To my eighteen-year-old self: You are about to embark on the best three years so far. People say that all the time and it sounds stereotypical but you will come out of university hardly recognising the girl who moved into Flat 203 of Orion’s Point halls all that time ago. And that’s a good thing. You have so much ahead of you. If I could go back and do it all again, I really would. So go ahead and have the time of your life and do as much as you can. You won’t regret a thing.
…Just learn how to make a decent cup of tea, for the sake of all your housemates. Nobody likes a weak cuppa….
The original Flat 203 getting ready for Grad Ball, June 2012 – the end of an era!