I’m currently writing this blog post from home, where I’m staying for the weekend! We’ve actually just moved house, and this is my first time staying at our new place. It’s nice to have a little break away from everything (and have a couple of my meals cooked for me!) but I am ready to head back to Leicester tomorrow to crack on with work.
Now that I’m in my final year of study at the University of Leicester, I’m wanting to make the most of the time I have left here. People keep telling me that the final year is always the one that goes by the fastest… and I have to say that I agree with those people. I can hardly believe it’s the end of October already! Seeing that loads of shops have started stocking Christmas stuff is really making me realise just how quickly the time flies when you’re at university.
In order to make the most of this last year of university life, I’m trying to get involved with as much as possible. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to become a committee member of the Erasmus and Exchange Society. But as you probably already know, final year is intense. The workload is seriously heavy and I’m normally always busy trying to meet deadlines. This, on top of my society activities, means that I’m practically always on the go. My marks for this year contribute so much towards my final grade, so I’m trying hard not to neglect my studies. And it’s got me thinking – I really regret not getting involved with more stuff during my first and second years, when there was less pressure to do well academically.
I was pretty shy and nervous as a first year, which I think is fairly normal. I wasn’t a huge fan of big nights out and the pressure I felt to be popular meant I was pretty scared when it came to meeting new people. I did have a Christmas temp job during my first year, but in terms of extracurricular activities that was about all I got involved with. In hindsight I wish I’d joined a bunch of societies – there are so many societies that I’d like to join this year but I just don’t have the time! In second year I made more of an effort to get involved with some more stuff. As you might have seen from one of my previous blog posts, I worked as a Course Representative and a Telephone Fundraising Ambassador. But I was still fairly shy and stuck to a close circle of friends throughout the year. I was reluctant to get involved with any societies purely because I didn’t know anyone. This was a big problem of mine – not wanting to do anything unless I had a friend there with me.
As cliché as it sounds, I guess the year abroad really changed me. Being out of my comfort zone has given me so much confidence and independence now. A few years ago, I would have been scared at the prospect of doing something slightly out of my comfort zone. But now I have a different mentality when it comes to this sort of thing. I just say things to myself like “what’s the worst that could happen?” and “you won’t know until you try”. And if something doesn’t go the way I expected, I just shrug it off and forget about it, rather than let it play on my mind. At least I can say I gave it a go. I kind of wish I’d had this attitude in my first year, because I might’ve really benefited from it back then. But at the same time this is what university is about – personal growth. I am who I am today because of who I was as a first year, if that makes any sense.
So I guess my advice is to firstly make the most of your time at university, because the time really does fly. As for my second piece of advice, I’m not sure how to word it without coming across as really patronising. I’ll just finish by saying that university is a super important time for self-development, so embrace it and make the most of it I guess!