The ‘Perfect’ University Experience

Hi, I’m Millie, a Creative Writing and Popular Music student from Cheltenham.

Despite the initial nerves, I remember being excited to start university. For as long as I can remember, I had been dreaming of what my university time would look like, drawing inspiration from those American chick flicks we are all guilty of watching and as the time drew nearer, my Pinterest board grew with my anticipation for a fresh start. I would tell my parents every last detail of what freshers’ week entailed, the job I would get, the timetable and regime I would stick to and of course my new clean eating diet plan. I had it all mapped out and it was going to be perfect.

Anxiety and excitement increased over the course of the run up to my university start date and because Liverpool Hope’s term started later than the majority of my friend’s universities, I was watching proud parents move their children into halls and watched my friends begin the world-renowned freshers’ week.

By the time I finally moved into halls myself, I had heard the horror stories of drunk nights out, going into bank overdrafts and of course missing that all important but dreaded 9am lecture. By this point, I’ll admit I was terrified and actually that first month of university for me was overwhelming, not helped by my high expectations for what university life ‘should’ have been like. On moving-in day, I unpacked, stuck up numerous photos from a time that seemed a lifetime ago and hung up my essential fairy lights, still adamant that this was the way to make that perfect university dream a reality.

During my first month, a lot changed for me. I went into this crazy adventure head first doing as much as I could. I signed up to every society, I worked from the minute the sun rose to the minute I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, I went searching for a job, I went out and got drunk, I did everything a first year student was ‘meant to do’ but I was so desperately unhappy with the path that I was creating for myself.

About six weeks in, I decided to do a social media detox. I noticed almost immediately how much more content I was with university life. I stopped comparing the experience I was having with my friend’s experiences and do you know what? It’s the best thing I could have done. I stopped drinking and instead became more sociable because personally I felt more comfortable. I set aside time for myself in among working and because of this, attending that 9am lecture wasn’t so hard. I changed my course and started living the way I wanted to – in the moment as opposed to the way I had planned since I was twelve or thirteen. In this time, I started to work out who I really was and began to realise just what this experience could do for me not just academically but personally and socially too, and now I feel like I’m just approaching the tip of living my best life.

I can’t recommend a social media detox more. I now do one of these for just a few days, no more than a week, every month to realign myself. It showed me how I could manage my time better and how to live in the moment as well as teaching me not to compare university experiences. Your experience is your own and no one else’s – you should totally be okay to do it the way you want to. There is so much support available to you regardless of what stage of university you’re at and how you’re feeling at that time. I can’t be more thankful to my personal tutor for the support she gave while I changed courses and to the staff at the reception desk who have listened to me ramble on a number of occasions. There are so many people on hand to help both inside and out of University – utilise them and don’t struggle through on your own.

So, here concludes my first student blog! Never imagined this is what I would be doing four months ago when I thought I was going to have to drop out because the ‘uni experience’ wasn’t right for me. Whether you’re reading this as a soon to be first year or a not far off post-graduate, enjoy living your #MyHopeStory and your perfect university experience (this has been mine so far) – it’s yours for the creating.

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