I wanna be a Fresher again

Hi Guys! Apologies that I didn’t write you exciting takes about freshers week… But truth be told there weren’t any. I’ve come down with the dreaded freshers flu from day one, I didn’t get paid until today so therefore expensive blow out nights were out of the question and to be honest with you.. I’m already knackered!! 

The first week back was a lot harder this year than it was last year! Last year was all introductions and get to know you sessions. Not this year. Your average get to know you session lasts approximately 6 minutes and then it’s straight in at the deep end. 

I thought the reading and workload last year was intense…. It’s nothing compared to this year… A summary of what reading was given to us in the first week:

  • 136 pages of reading for introduction and understanding of our optional module (not optional as in don’t have to take it, optional as in you get to choose which topic you study)
  • 13 studies and some textbook reading for one module
  • 8 studies and one chapter for a further module 
  • A chapter written by a lecturer (a classic showing off lecturer)
  • A chapter and a 40 page study for the final module 

So pretty intense. I’m working through it the best I can, but it’s already quite clear that this year is going to be a big step up from last and I’m going to have to be on the ball! 

I was really looking forward to joining the stunt cheerleading team this year, however I’m now debating whether or not it’s a good idea to. It’s clear I’m going to have a lot of work to do and it’s a lot of time to give up getting to and from UEA for the practice sessions which occur three times a week, and I’m already going to miss one as I work Wednesday evenings. What do you guys think, do I squeeze in more time for a sports club or do I focus on my studies?!

In other news, start of term means student discount! I’m desperate to make use of the discount in H&M as there’s this super cool jacket that I’m in love with! Unfortunately though, the discount isn’t available online and every time I pop into store they don’t have my size… I’ve got less than a week left before the discount end so I really hope they get a delivery soon! 

I’m sorry I can’t give you guys any exciting freshers week news! Whilst everyone has been donning their glam clothes and throwing themselves into student life I spent a lot of last week snuggled in bed wrapped in numerous blankets! Big first week back! 

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Preparations begin

So it’s officially less than 4 weeks until I go back to uni – four weeks yesterday to be precise! And I know that sounds like a long time, but I’m going to sundown festival, working a fair bit and going on holiday, so the time is bound to fly by – exactly as it has done the 14 weeks up until now! 

To get myself ready for uni I have already made a to do list. I’ve found myself a new uni bag and put stuff in it that I won’t need before then but will be sure to want at uni. 

I’ve created a list of things I need to buy for uni. 

I’ve sorted all my previous uni stuff from last year – I’ve put it all in a box, with subjects separated by coloured card so I can easily find old essay plans and lecture notes. I’ve kept all my assignments together so I can easily look back through them. Any work or notes that may be relevant for this upcoming year I have kept in a plastic wallet that I have put in my uni bag. 

I’ve even bought an old textbook off of EBay that was recommended by a lecturer and will be looking through it and taking notes on methods and data we will be covering in our upcoming lectures. I’ve also began downloading previous studies to read through so that I can get a thorough understanding of how methods of analysis work before the hard assignments begin. 

I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to going back to uni or not – my summer off has been lovely and has, believe it or not gone far too quickly! But I’m going to make sure I give myself the best start possible by being as prepared as I can be. 

My advice to new students preparing for uni – 

Check your online account and emails for all information regarding your course so you can be sure you have received all the correct information and registered. 

Begin buying all things you need fairly soon, you don’t have to buy them all at once, but leaving the whole lot until the last minute means you are likely to forget something!

Don’t panic – stay calm and remember to enjoy yourself.

Make the most of your last few weeks before the hard work begins again! 

Pros vs cons: university from home. 

Hi Guys,

So in addition to some tips I gave you the other day on how to make friends at uni, I thought I would do a post on what I think the pros and cons have been from my first year at uni, experienced from a living at home point of view. I’m going to start with the cons first..

  • I have to get up earlier to be at my lectures on time – this one really bugs me, as I love my sleep and sometimes to get up super early when I have a 9am lecture or seminar can be so difficult, I’m forever jealous of friends who get up at 8.30! 
  • The first week is slightly more awkward for people living at home, as they know less people, due to not living in accommodation with other new students – I won’t lie and say this didn’t happen to me, it did. Some people on my course already knew each other, even on the first day, due to living in the same flat or flats near each other. This didn’t effect me for long though, as people soon begin to mix! 
  • People arrived at uni over the weekend, so it felt like you might be missing out.
  • I’ve spend a fair bit on taxis this year (£11 for a five minute trip home from uni, and £10 on my own instead of £5 split between numerous people when we go out in the centre of Norwich!!) 
  • Having to drive, walk, bus, cycle, whatever home after a long day at uni – a nightmare considering some of my friends are warm and cosy (this is predominantly more annoying during the cold winter) before I’ve even got out of the campus! 
  • Others are always at uni, possibly together, during the evenings and weekends, whilst you’re at home. This can be a bit disconcerting, but if this is something that concerns you, make the effort to go into campus on your days off. Suggest a drink in the cafe or a study session in the library. Involve yourself in all parts of uni life. 
  • You don’t automatically have a group of people you can go to, go out with, sit with and refer to as your friends, simply because you live with them. It is more challenging to establish a big group of friends without the accommodation connection but you still encounter plenty of people on your course and will find plenty of opportunities to make friends
  • It’s a nuisance carrying your bag and books four or five times the distance that people living on campus do. 
  • If you forget something or want to nip home – well it’s almost impossible to do haha
  • It can be annoying to come back in, wait around or come in on days off if I want to do an activity such as a club or society meeting in the evening

Those are the things that have bothered me this year whilst living at home. The smaller ones are the ones that are actually more of a hindrance – having to bring more stuff (can’t nip home to grab lunch, have to bring it with me) and carrying all my stuff further and being home much later than everyone else. Things I mentioned about the first week of uni actually providing very little annoyance once the initial period of getting to know everyone was over and done with. The minute you walk in on your first day you start to get to know people and these connections and bonds all work out to help you find people to talk to, hang out with and socialise with throughout the whole year! 

Here is my pros of living at home and going to uni!…

  • I still have a double bed
  • I still have a TV
  • 90% of the time my mum cooks for me and does my washing – what an 😇
  • Whilst I might spend money on taxis and petrol, I’m not 6 grand in debt from accommodation 
  • Following on from this.. As much as I struggle to make ends meet sometimes, I do have much more money than my friends who live at uni
  • I get to see and cuddle my fluffy little dog every day – which makes me feel 100% better of I’ve had a bad day 
  • I still have a car and therefore the freedom to go where I want and when I want without relying on the bus to take me there
  • I am able to appreciate some time to myself to be independent. As much as I love spending time with my friends, I like living at home as it gives me the opportunity to spend some time on my own, without the worry of appearing rude by not wanting to constantly be around flat mates. 
  • Living off campus also gives me the chance to distance myself from the struggles of uni. When I am tense because of coursework or revision, living away from uni gives me the chance to destress simply by being in a different environment for a little while 
  • I am still able to work, which gives me the chance to have a bit more money and again socialise and engage with people outside of Uni. I like this aspect as it means that my entire life doesn’t revolve around my studies and I get more balance in what I do and who I see 
  • Some friends of mine, including my best friend didn’t go to uni, and by living at home I still have the opportunity to see her and spend time with her which I know is something I would greatly miss if I could not do this
  • I have the chance to do family things, spend time with my family because I am still living at home
  • My relationship has survived the year and uni and is stronger than it was before – I know some people who have made relationships last but I also know many who have been unable to overcome the problem of distance 
  • I never had the hassle of packing and unpacking my stuff and making sure I had brought the right boxes and things to uni, or remembering to bring them home
  • Some of my friends spent so much money on going home for weekends as they were feeling homesick. I never spent money on this and nor did I have to suffer that homesick feeling 
  • I never had the worry or uncertainty about finding a house for second year as I already had lovely accommodation at home with my parents – this was a very important one for me. Before I went to uni I visited some friends who were living in Loughborough and studying at that uni. The house they lived in was cold, bare, old and in need of so much renovation and work, there was one sofa, the kitchen was a galley kitchen for all of them. The entrance was through an alleyway and surrounded by smelly bins. I realise that students have a much smaller budget than my parents for instance, but that was one of the main factors that influenced my decision to stay at home. Why force myself to live on accommodation that needs a lot of love and care when I have a lovely home free of charge already ☺️ some people say that’s all part of being a student but for me the luxury of home comforts was too strong!

Everyone is different and wants different things. The important thing is to remember not to let anyone influence your decision, because everyone IS different and appreciates and enjoys different things! To me being able to spend time with my family and my old friends and my boyfriend was really important and greatly influenced my decision to live at home 😊

First Week Nerves

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.