I’ll be 100% honest and say that Sunday evening, getting my stuff ready for uni and preparing myself for the day ahead I was petrified. Big changes in life always unsettle me and leave me worrying myself for weeks and this was no different. The questions running through my head were probably no different than every other person but to me I just couldn’t get it out of my head that I was going to struggle so much more. I’m living at home while I go to UEA, and the biggest question that was going round and round in my head was – what if I don’t make any friends????? I expect everyone had been asking themselves the same questions for weeks but I was so worried that the divide between the people living in halls and myself living at home would be so obvious that I wouldn’t fit in and would find it a long three years. The other questions I was asking myself on loop all day were what if this is the wrong decision. It took me a long time to actually decide what I wanted to do at uni and whether uni was even the right decision for me and I couldn’t help questioning myself as the time drew nearer. For the last few weeks I’ve been really excited. Looking forward to the new things I’m going to learn and especially the new experiences. All of my friends come back and talk about uni life and I want to experience it as well. But the closer we’ve got to the start date the more time my stomach spends turning over and jolting every time I think about it or someone mentions it. I think it’s only natural to doubt yourself at times like this, not knowing what lies ahead. Monday came scarily quickly and I made the park and ride bus by about 30 seconds.
Not sure how I like the 9am starts, I thought being a student meant more lie ins! As soon as I stepped off the bus I met someone at the map who was also looking for the psychology building, someone else who’d been on the park and ride bus and we joined a massive amount of students waiting around in a building that actually turned out to be the wrong one. There are sooooo many people doing my course, so many more than I expected. I thought there might be about 60 people but there’s probably nearly 100. We were all packed into this foyer and left to chat and mingle. A good tactic because I met a girl who’s absolutely lovely and also living at home, something that made me feel much more at ease. Monday was a fairly short day because after the hours meet and greet, we had a single welcome lecture and that was it. Even after going around the freshers fair I was able to get the bus home by 1.30. I was knackered! I had a nap because I had to go to work for 4.30! I would have loved to go to the t-shirt party which looked really good but i wasn’t able to get tickets.
Tuesday was another crazy early start, very depressing as this one was supposed to be a long day. In the end it turned out to be pretty good, we got talking to some more girls on our course when we were in the library, two more of whom were staying off campus as well. Turns out I even vaguely knew one of the girls because we work on the same retail park. The lectures we had that day were fairly straight forward, just an introduction to the course and what we’d be doing. There was a social from 4, which we went to, and got a ginormous free slice of pizza and some free drink! But people left quickly and we were all tired so we headed home with plans to meet later at the school disco. The school disco was pretty good. I liked the theme and the chance to dress up, the music wasn’t great though, I only know a couple of Wheatus’ songs and I’m pretty sure they weren’t played. We left reasonably early, I would have happily stayed later cos it was a laugh but I didn’t want to stay on my own and everyone was tired. We did get a chance to wander around the societies fair on Tuesday, but it was packed and nothing really took our fancy, we couldn’t even find the psychology society!
On Wednesday we were given a treat and weren’t starting until 10 when it had originally been 9am. I think everyone savoured the extra hour in bed. We were doing a treasure hunt. Not the most fun in the world because it was wet and cold but it did give us a chance to talk to people we probably hadn’t spoken to already and to take some funny selfies. My favourite selfies for our group was the one in the library where we were all doing the shush sign, or the selfie with Fraser Smith. After this we went round the sport fair which was actually really good. There’s so many clubs! And everyone was trying to persuade you to join up to theirs! The ones I’ve seen that have interested me so far are netball or basketball, dance or cheerleading, pole fitness and maybe yoga! A lot to choose from though! I’m hoping to go to some taster sessions before I decide which ones to definitely go for! I’m also thinking of joining nightline to do a couple of volunteer sessions each semester as it will be something totally different and great to put on my cv. I went home after the sports fair and spent some quality time with my boyfriend because it was his birthday. Poorly timed there as everyone I spoke to seemed to be going to the Zane Lowe gig that evening!!!
We’d been told that Thursday was the day that things started to get serious and they weren’t joking. We had a introduction lecture for each module, and were even given homework for one! I didn’t even realise that homework existed at university! I knew there would be assignments but the word homework being thrown out took me by surprise! Already I’ve spent an hour’s break in the library doing work and it’s not even the second week! Everyone was thrown into a panic when they realised we now needed the books asap, and when we went in Waterstones after the lecture it seemed like half the class was in there debating whether to buy all the books now or wait. They’re so expensive. I think that’s what has taken me by surprise the most. The textbooks are vital to the course but they’re so ridiculously expensive. I ended up getting mine online in the end, but that’s £100 gone straight away and only on 3 books.
We also went to a careers talk on Thursday, where a UEA psychology alumni told us about what career path he had taken. It was pretty interesting actually because although it’s not the route I am looking to take it did show me that there’s an incredible amount of stuff you can do with a psychology degree. Which is always a positive to learn! I went to this pretty cool psychological experiment on Thursday night, with Martin S Taylor. Supposedly he’s a hypnotist that doesn’t use hypnotism. I’m not sure how I felt about it… It was pretty cool what he was able to show us and get people to do (Beyoncé single ladies dance!!) but I’m quite a sceptic and I think they’ll always be a part of me that doesn’t want to believe in those sort of things. It was still a laugh though, but I’m glad I didn’t volunteer to be a ‘subject’.
Finally, finally, finally on Friday I got to have a lay in…only to be woken up at half 8 by my dad. I was furious!!! I celebrated the day off by doing absolutely no work…whoops. I went to propaganda at the student union in the evening with a girl from my course and one girl doing Business and that was really good. We went to the bar for a little while before hand and got chatting to some third-years who gave us some advice about societies. It was deserted when we went into the union, think we got there a bit early at half 10! We were chatting to some other freshers for a while though and went outside so one of them could have a cigarette and it was starting to get busier when we came back up. I tried this drink called a ‘Steven Hawkin’. Never again! VKs are pretty nice but cherry is not my favourite flavour at all and that was all I could taste in this drink, plus the sugar overload was insane! I preferred the music in the hive part of the Union as opposed to the centre LCR, that was where most people seemed to be dancing anyway. We left fairly early because both me and the girl I came with had work all weekend and the week seemed to have gone on forever! The girls got picked up before me and in my inebriated state I decided the best thing to do with my time whilst I waited was to run to the library and see if I could find any of my course books. I did find one, but I think I embarrassed myself in the process when I couldn’t get out of the library doors.
I’ve got really mixed feelings about my first week at UEA. Overall I think it’s been good, I’ve made some nice friends already and I think I’ll get on alright with the course, but I’m a born worrier and I go back and forth between really enjoying myself and then being scared about everything that’s going on around me. It’s a huge change in my life and it’s been nice to have the weekend to relax and switch off, just to give myself a chance to recharge and get my head around everything’s that gone on.