Seven Lessons From First Year

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Being a fresher is unlike anything else. You’ll likely experience every emotion under the sun in what feels like a year of unrelenting highs, lows and pasta bakes. But, my emotional rollercoaster as a fresher has inevitably come to its end, and it’s time for me to reflect on a weird and wonderful year and let the newbies know what they’re in for.
  1. Your fridge will likely be empty 24/7. Uni teaches you that it’s worth going hungry in order to save yourself a 10 minute walk to Morrisons. However, does make you appreciate the simple joy of visiting home for the weekend to discover your parents have just done a big shop.
  2. Me time is not wasted time. FOMO can be massive at university, and you’re constantly bombarded with social media posts of all your friends ‘living their best lives’. But, doing what everyone else is doing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, so trust your gut if you want to sit something out. At some point, we’ve ALL been on the dance floor wishing we were in bed with a pack of chocolate digestives, so sometimes it’s worth cutting out the middle-man and sticking Netflix and a face-mask on instead.
  3. The dreaded hangover from last night; always fixable with a meal deal, but be warned, once you give in to this habit, you’ll never stop. Excuse me Santander, I don’t remember spending £72 this week on chilli heatwave Doritos, cheese sandwiches and bottles of Lucozade?
  4. Naps aren’t just for babies and old people. Surprisingly, one lecture a day is actually quite tiring and a midday nap definitely sounds better than trekking to Eddy B to finish that essay.
  5. Freshers, 40% is all you need. I know your Mum has made you promise to go to everything BUT, first year of university is about experiencing the city and trying new things just as much as it is about education. Everything you fit in around lectures and deadlines are likely the bits you’ll remember from your time in Leeds. Don’t reach December and realise you’ve covered the whole recommended reading list but forgotten to meet new people and try new things.
  6. Roger Stevens is a labyrinth. You walk in on Level 8 (a perfectly logical start point). Lecture Theatre 20 is in front of you (duh, of course). Then, you climb the stairs in the obvious order of 23, 21, 24, 22 and 25. Yup, makes total sense.
  7. It’s totally okay to be sad sometimes. Mental health and uni is a tricky thing to manage. Make yourself aware of the services available to you and reach out. It takes a lot of strength to keep going when the thought of doing anything is just too much, so give yourself some credit! Life can be tough, but so are you.
But above all these things, the biggest thing I’ve learnt is to not take time for granted. Kids, enjoy first year while it lasts, because I’ve heard second year is nothing but a bloody headache.

Ellie Futter