Thursday, 22 September 2011
On this day 2 years ago, I started university. I haven't done it the 'normal' way. I have, and still live at home and commute in. I know so many people who think I have done it wrong. I understand their thoughts, that university is your first big adventure, the excitement of moving out and when you start living on your own. I know my boyfriend thinks like this. A lot of people think that is what university is all about. And yes, I guess it is. For a lot of people. But it wasn't for me.
I started university when I had just turned 17. I got an offer from a university that was local to me. I only applied to ones that were close by. That's because I was scared. I was not ready to move out, and it was my decision to stay close to home. If I was going to university now I am 19, of course I'd do things differently. Yes I would probably move out, certainly for my second and third years. I was extremely shy and unconfident and if I had moved out I would not have adapted and grown like I would if I did now. I would have broken down. Everybody's circumstances are different.
I do not believe in regrets. I will never regret that I never moved out during my time at university, or went out for freshers because I wasn't 18, or not allowed on that first year trip to Amsterdam for being too young. I don't regret anything. I have still had an amazing time without doing it the conventional way. And I will for my third year too. I have still done things that have made me happy. I have met lifetime friends and fallen in love. So I didn't move out or learn to live independently, that's fine by me! I still have that adventure to come. It just so happened I wasn't at that point in my life when I was ready to do that. I feel I am now, and I feel excited about the prospect of moving out next year.
For those starting university now, or next year, or whenever; here is my advice. Do things your way. It is your life and your adventure. Make memories because you want to, not because you are meant to or because everyone else is doing it. If you aren't in halls, I know you may think it's harder. But I made friends perfectly fine, and so did other commuters in my course. It's a good conversation starter, and just because they may know some people already, doesn't mean you have a disadvantage! This is your adventure, so go and be happy. Don't worry about what other people think! Do things that make you smile and take lots of photographs. Go out clubbing one night and stay in drinking a cup of tea and watching iplayer the next.
This is your adventure, no matter if you are doing it the conventional way or not :) Good luck!