Yesterday I officially finished my first year studying French & Italian at Bristol. All my work and exams are done, and I just have to wait till the 8th July (ridiculously late, I know!) to find out my actual grade for the year. This morning I watched a video by zefrank, in which he gives some advice about starting university (or college, whichever you prefer). Although I was already feeling quite reflective today, this video made me really think about the past year and whether it fulfilled the expectations I had about university, and whether I achieved the goals I had set myself at the start of the year. Yes I’m one of those people that sets myself goals before I go into anything. That’s how I have always worked. I really dislike working within a timetable or anything too structured, I would much rather have specific goals and do however much or little that I need to do to achieve them.
Before I went to University I had a little bit of an existential crisis (as you do) and made myself a plan. Not a detailing out of what life would be like, but a list of skills and ideas that I needed to improve, that I wanted to achieve, and that I could develop further. My list included:
- Take every opportunity
- Talk to people
- Keep yourself up-to-date with the world around you (with the Times everyday I thought this would be very hard)
- Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed by it all and shut down (which I have a tendency to do)
- Stop doubting yourself and your abilities – be more assertive
I am really pleased to say that, for the most part, I feel like I have achieved these things. I joined the student radio and presented a show, a podcast, and am now co-Head of News for next year. I also joined the dance society, attended a really useful media course, and helped to further my post-A level Italian class’ fight to get a better course for the following years. I met one of my now best friends, who I am living with next year, because I was brave at a freshers event and just started talking to the nice looking girl sat to my left. I have remembered to check news websites (both in English and my other languages) pretty regularly, and I have kept up to speed with local and student news as well.
My last two points were and still are the most difficult to overcome. There were moments of crippling homesickness, 5am essay crises, and days when I just didn’t want to get out of bed. But despite all this, I have learnt that I am actually capable of coming up with good ideas (something I felt I struggled with all through secondary school), and that I can be assertive if I feel something should be done that isn’t happening. I have also learnt how to put things into perspective, and that sometimes it isn’t academic work , but the experiences you have with the people around you that teach you the most.
I didn’t go into University wanting to be the crazy party animal who turned up hungover to every lecture, missed classes because there was something more fun to do, and just wasted away my first year watching the entirety of Gossip Girl. That really isn’t the type of person I am, or want to be, and I probably wouldn’t ever classify myself as a ‘typical’ student. I wanted to lay the groundwork for the following years, both socially and in the more career driven aspects of Uni life. I am so happy how my first year turned out – I have made and kept friends that I know will be there for years to come, I have had experiences that I will never forget (a lot of which have, thankfully, been immortalised on facebook), and I have learnt so much, not only from my degree, but from everything else that has happened this year.
I hope to be able to pass on some of these lessons to anyone starting University this year, and I will be doing a separate post on how to survive/ make the most out of your first year.
But for now, here’s to my first year at University over, thank you to everyone who has made it so great!