Since we last spoke, it's safe to say that a lot has changed... I'm officially a fresher at Cardiff University! Moving to uni is a challenging thing to do at the best of times, so dealing with such a huge transition in the midst of the COVID second wave has been interesting to say the least. So, I thought that I should share my experience so far with you all!
For me, starting university has been a long time coming. During my gap year I often found myself fantasising about moving in, planning how my room was going to look and wasting hours of my day watching 'freshers advice' videos on TikTok and Youtube. I spent a whole year creating a huge expectation in my mind only to find out that (spoiler alert) the reality is very different to what I'd imagined. When I arrived in Cardiff, I was the first one out of my flat mates to move in, so I had my halls completely to myself and I was thrilled that this was the case! I got to choose which kitchen cupboards I wanted, had Mum and Dad stay for longer than they were meant to, and didn't have to worry about making a good first impression whilst simultaneously moving my whole life out of the car and in to my new room. This high didn't last for long, though. That night I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sense of loneliness. I was sat in our 5-person kitchen completely by myself listening to the buzz and excitement of freshers week happening all around me. It wasn't at all how I imagined my first night at uni to be and, in true drama queen fashion, I started to question if I was doing the right thing. However, as soon as my flatmates started to move in, I quickly realised that the answer to this question is yes. I am absolutely doing the right thing, even if it does feel a little bit strange at times.
When people think of uni they often think of the night life: from freshers week to sports socials, bar crawls to pub trips, the novelty of university nights out was something that I was so looking forward to. But, again, this hasn't gone exactly how I imagined it would. This year, my freshers week consisted of a fair few flat parties, followed by gatherings in the courtyards when these inevitably got shut down. Whilst this clearly wasn't how I thought my freshers experience would be, I actually couldn't have asked for a better first week. I was given the opportunity to really get to know people and make genuine connections, rather than dancing with someone for 5 minutes in a crowded club and then never seeing them again! Because of this, I've already made some really lovely friends and have had time to get to know my flatmates so well.
Call me weird, but after a year out of education, another aspect of uni that I couldn't wait for was the lectures and seminars. During my first week, everything was happening online, but week 2 presented the opportunity to start going on to campus for in person seminars. The idea of getting back into a learning environment and having some face to face contact with my teachers and peers was so exciting, and it finally felt like there was going to be a little bit of normality in my university experience. However, a few days before my first seminar, I tested positive for COVID-19. How typical! So, although I'm yet to experience the luxury of face to face teaching, at least I can be productive and get my work done without leaving my bed. Every cloud has a silver lining!
So, despite the fact that (so far) my university experience has been completely different to how I imagined it would be, I wouldn't change any of it! I've met some great people, my course is so interesting, I get to live in and explore the capital city of Wales, and I can even tell my children that I contracted and survived the coronavirus!
Here's to three years of fun... and maybe a bit of work too!