October 15, 2004

Something I wrote.

I thought I would share this with you all.

Going to University

I think it is fair to say that I was terrified about coming to University. I spent the summer getting more and more wound up about it. I have always been the kind of person that likes to feel comfortable, and after spending seven years at my school I felt really at home there. I had friends that I loved, and I was respected; I could be myself. It felt like after everything that had taken so long to fall into place it was being taken away so cruelly. I had to go off to some new, scary place, and build my identity all over again.

I coped quite well the first month or so. Before the exam results came out, I could kid myself that everything was still a long way in the future, and I could put it to the back of my mind. On A-level results day I finally broke down, it was suddenly real. I spent the rest of the summer energetically building a faÁade, though I donít think it really fooled anybody. I was scared, and instead of putting my feelings into words, I held them deep inside, distracting myself with outings, parties and increasingly late nights as I didnít enjoy those few moments before falling asleep when my mind was empty, allowing the fears I was so desperate to ignore to come to the surface.

It was made worse towards the end of August when my best friend left for her Gap year in India. The charity she was going with organises full 12-month placements, so the prospect of being without one of the crucial parts of my support system was an unpleasant one. This was another feeling I sent deep underground. I didnít want to seem selfish by voicing my wish that she hadnít gone, and asking the question: ďwhy do I have to do this alone?Ē

By the time September arrived, I found small comfort in the tiny details that were falling into place. I enjoyed writing lists of things I needed, and beginning to build a little Ďhomeí of my own to bring away with me. I remember being tremendously emotional throughout this period, any little thing could start me off. I began the process of saying goodbye to everybody. This was very hard, but by this time, I was beginning to rationalise my feelings using phrases like Ďten weeks isnít such a long timeí and Ďit will be over before we know it.í The final week before leaving day was a strange one, as many of my friends had already left, I did feel rather alone.

_Arrivals day was less fraught than I thought it would be. I felt disconnected from everything around me. It didnít feel quite real. When my parents left, none of us got emotional, which surprised me. I was almost envisaging myself clinging on to them screaming ďdonít leave me, donít leave me!Ē
The first week here in Warwick still felt unreal (even now Iím not sure if I believe it really happened.) But I was happy, I think. I began to make friends (which is something I hadnít had to do since Year 7) and very slowly, I felt more at home._

The end of this tale is a positive one. I will never forget the crazy summer that I had, in the same way as I remember a bad dream, but I donít believe I will think actively on it again. I am thoroughly enjoying myself, now I have settled in. The friends I have made donít know me as well as my friends back home, but the prospect that one day the will is very exciting, and makes me very happy. Of course I miss certain people, but I am comforted by the fact that my diversionary statements such as Ďit will be over before we know ití are beginning to seem true, as I canít believe how quickly these first three weeks have gone.

The way I look at it, if someone as nervous and uncertain as me can cope with coming to University, then anyone can, and I hope that one day I can help my own children have a smoother ride than I did. This isnít to say my parents didnít try to help, but as it was as alien an experience for them as it was for me, there were no specific pearls of wisdom to be shared. It is one of my goals in life to have a book published, maybe I will entitle it: ďA Guide to University for the Perpetually Terrified.Ē

Look out for it in the shops soon, folks!

Signing off for now,
Helen


- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. it's unusual that everyone seems to feel some of the feelings you felt, but deal with them in so many different ways.

    with me i never realise something is happening until it is too late. University sneeked up on me, and before i knew it i had left behind all that i had known, and it had begun.

    at least everyone was in the same boat. it would be weird joining uni for year 2 :S!!!

    15 Oct 2004, 22:10

  2. yeah I agree, thanks for your comment! Some of my friends had the ohshitohshitohshit it's time for uni thing! :)

    16 Oct 2004, 14:55

  3. ah yes, i know it well.

    SAT's, GCSE's, A level's, Uni start,.....Uni exmas

    uh oh!

    Not a good way to live

    17 Oct 2004, 13:50

  4. Its scary joining for your second first year cos im not really a fresher but i am…...weird!

    20 Oct 2004, 16:22


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