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The Four Stages of University

My apologies I’ve been M.I.A recently, truth be told I’ve been in a bit of a slump. You’ll know the one, in which doing anything feels like it’s going to drain all your energy. I’ve been living in a constant rotation of working, sleeping and trying to enjoy the beginning of my summer, somewhere in between it all. My parents will tell you I’m a big one for beating myself up when, unsurprisingly, I fail to juggle every aspect of my life. However, this time around I’m starting to understand no one really has their shit together.

At some point in the middle of your 10th bout of hysteria of the day, you’ve got to just stop, take a breath and cut yourself some slack. I’m under no illusion that being a student is the most stressful or challenging time you can experience in your life, but it’s definitely a shock to the old system. Whilst I’d allowed the loathing I felt towards A-Levels to seep into my expectations, in reality, Uni has made me realise that I’m not limited to a lifetime of academic averageness after all.

There are Four Stages of University that most, if not all, students will experience. These emotions stirred up by this big life adjustment can happen at any time, in any order and occasionally all at the same time. These stages are anxiousness, happiness, feeling homesick and residing in limbo.

The months building up to receiving your A-Level results and moving into your new home are concealed by a thin layer of anxiety. The looming fear of failed exams, horrible flatmates and not having your parents around when you’re cooking spag bol for the first time. In some instances, your anxious thoughts will befit what follows. You may end up living with people that don’t do their share of the cleaning, those that leave their dirty dishes strewn across the counters; or those that have been so spoon fed by their doting parents that the word ‘cleaning’ is bordering on a foreign language.

These initial waves of anxiety subside and are replaced by a staggering sense of happiness. This is probably your first solo mission, an opportunity for a fresh start. You’ll go to some great, good and awful places with new friends and inevitably spend more of your student loan than you should. As a person that deeply enjoys planning her life out, this was the first time I had no choice but to go with the flow. It would be impossible to meticulously organise something that involves that many people, it’s weirdly freeing.

Whether you choose to admit it or not, I believe everyone gets homesick. Even if it’s for the physical house you lived in, the people you lived with, or some kind of pet. There’s always something that will make you miss where you were born and bred.

Next you’re about to enter limbo. You’re going to live between your childhood and the looming reality of adult life, the invisible pressure of learning how to survive in the world; when you really just want to know why you’re learning to live in a world that will be barely recognisable after Brexit.

In this limbo you’ll learn about interests you didn’t know you had, you’ll discover your truest friends and you’ll realise all the adults around you really had no clue what was going on. You’ll struggle to say goodbye to the little you that left mud pies around the house and did Easter egg hunts in the garden. Now it’s official, you’re a grown-up.

I’ve painted a rather traumatic picture, but in reality it’s not. Moving to Bristol was the best decision I’ve made to date. I have made friends for life, produced work I’m proud of and I am slowly learning who I am as a solo entity.

So, thanks First Year you’ve been great.

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