First Year Feelings

Friday 1 June 2018

I've been debating actually writing this post for the longest time now because, while I do want to share my university experience, I'm aware of how glaringly negative it would be. But then if I can't get a little bit personal on my blog, where can I?

It's difficult for me to know where to start talking about this past academic year as I feel like it's just been so big a single blog post won't do it justice. How do I wrap all my thoughts and experiences up into a neat little package when I can barely make sense of them as they're happening? I have no idea, but I've tried my best here. Except, my best is still not very good, and there are more negatives than there are positives because - honestly - I don't think there were any, other than the fact that I've taken a huge personal step. (Which is still overshadowed by the fact that uni is just a... regular part of life for the majority of people, so what I've achieved is nothing special, but I digress.)

I've broken the year up into sections to try and formulate my thoughts more clearly, and I haven't gone into too much detail because I could fill a novel with all my complaints. And I've also tried to keep said complaints to a minimum and rather present observations, but it seems I'm only capable of negativity, so please enjoy my grumbling thoughts on my first year of uni. Although, it wasn't all bad, I guess - just not the best time of my life like everyone claims uni is.


  • Getting to study psychology again was really great!
  • Except for the fact that one module in semester A was mostly philosophy based (and I got a U in A-Level philosophy and threw out all my notes from the subject...) and the others had tenuous links to psychology at best
  • Being 1/350 students in a class meant it was very difficult to ask questions directly after lectures, and email replies were also often generalised to the course as a whole, so the feeling of personal assistance was just... non-existant
  • The only lecture hall that could fit us all in isn't great - the desk is too small for A4 notebooks and too far away for those of us under 5'5"
  • A lot of lecturers refused to record lectures as it 'encourages absence' which made it really hard to catch up after legitimate absences, especially when the slides only covered the bare minimum 


  • I severely underestimated just how much work there would be
  • Simultaneously studying three different subjects at A-Level still wasn't enough to prepare me for studying four modules of the same subject
  • If you don't write your lecture notes up in a timely fashion you'll never get on top of them (I still have notes from November last year waiting to be written up fully)
  • Assigned reading can actually be really helpful, but god is it boring
  • A lot of staff took the piss of whole 'independent adult learner' thing whenever you asked for help or clarification, meaning a lot of us felt stranded on certain topics and really needed the guidance (particularly around exam time!)
  • 'Essential reading' quickly turned into a joke when over 300 students were left fighting over ten copies of a textbook, ebooks that only let you read for thirty minutes, and chapters over forty A4 pages long


  • I didn't really connect with anyone this year, which is not unusual for me as I can be extremely shy and struggle getting to know people, but it did get annoying at times when we had to ask people to take part in research projects
  • I didn't join any societies like I planned at Freshers because I had a really bad day when the societies fair was on and missed it, and then I felt too nervous to see whether I could join mid-year
  • There were a few people I started chatting to, but I wouldn't say the friendships went very far because the last thing I want to do after a day of lectures is go out: sitting in a room full of people is enough to drain my social battery and I value my alone time above everything else
  • It was a pretty lonely year, but I'm coming to terms with getting through life by myself


  • I'd pushed the hell that is commuting and using public transport out of my memory, only to realise that, yep: still hell
  • I also learnt that I get incredibly homesick and need Mysha around me to feel truly comfortable (turns out all the jokes about her being my therapy cat have some truth to them)
  • Living alone is fine, except it isn't, except I don't think living with others will be any easier


  • My seasonal depression hit me hard, incapacitating me from November to mid-March, meaning a lot of lectures were missed and I fell extremely behind with work
  • This has probably been my best academic year in terms of physical health and not needing antibiotics
  • The depressive episode did, however, trigger a flare up in what I can only describe as CFS-like symptoms and some hormonal joint pain


  1. Your first year seems a lot like mine! I am very shy as well and although I met a few people on my first day, they kinda screwed me over later on and I didn’t make many friends this year. But I don’t really mind anymore. Hope your second year is better :)

    1. Yeah that just about sums my year up as well tbh. Here's hoping both of us have better second years! (although I'm there to get a degree, not make friends so at this point I just do't care)

  2. I've seen a lot of people complain about their first year (I can hardly say mine was the best), but I've seen a lot of others saying that second year improved a lot. Hopefully that has a ring of truth to it for us

    1. I really hope that is the case! I know some of my modules sound really interesting so I'm hoping they're as I expect and I enjoy them, at least

  3. good luck w second year!
    first year was super hard for me too ;;

    1. Thank you! I honestly think people who say first year is the best are lying, at this point haha

  4. Char, I'm so f**king proud of you, you have no idea!!!

    As far as going forward is concerned, this is gonna sound illogical, and feel free to disregard it as due to health problems I ended up not taking my place in Uni, *but*: focus less on the work and the grades, more on learning.

    Again: feel free to ignore! But at the end of the day, it's the knowledge in your head that no-one can ever take from you. And if you focus on the learning then you'll find the grades etc. are more manageable.

    But then, you may have to blame my hippie upbringing for that advice.

    Your awesomeness Char, keep rockin'! XD <3

    1. Thank you so much, Cee! You're very right about the grades - I really do need to stop worrying so much about them and just focus on knowing the info. Because surely if I know it I'll apply it in assignments and pass, right? Haha, hopefully I can apply that in second year.

    2. It'll work :) Good luck Char! XD


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