I always knew returning to university to a whole new group of students in my lectures was going to be slightly tricky and this was confirmed when I walked into my first lecture for this year and was met with a sea of strangers. Not good. I had taken out a year from university to work in industry and so all of my friends had graduated when I returned. Even though it has been two weeks of lectures now, I still feel a surge of nostalgia when I walk into a lecture theatre and remember sitting (and often falling asleep!) with my friends in lectures, and in general just thinking about the great memories we had made together.
The thing I have found about trying to make a new group of friends now is that everyone has fallen into their distinct circles after having spent two years together, so I do feel at times like a third wheel. All is not hopeless though as I have managed to make some pleasant acquaintances and my transition into a life as a student again is going far more smoothly than I expected. I sorely miss having the freedom to plan my own days and spending time in labs doing meaningful scientific research but for now, I am concentrating on keeping on top of my workload. The third year of the course most definitely runs at a faster pace than previous years, something I thought to be impossible!