First year at uni. The Lecture RoomPeople often ask me “What made you go to university?” My answer: “I don’t know. Insanity?!? Starting to feel like university really isn’t for everyone.”

That was pretty much my answer to any such question 6 months back. This will probably make more sense if I start from the beginning.

When I first applied for university I didn’t know what to expect or what was in store for me. What I didn’t expect, however, was basically everything that happened to me within the first three months.  Coming from a very sheltered and guarded lifestyle in London and then moving to Coventry, being forced to grow up and actually become an independent ADULT scared me.

Saying bye to my family was a very sad moment and a part of me was regretting the move; “Why did I decide to come this far away from home?”  These thoughts remained with me.  Looking back on it now, that was probably the main reason why it took me such a long time to settle into the university and, up to a certain point, made me regret my decision.

With time, I actually started to ENJOY being in university.  Even appreciating the distance I had from home.  Or maybe it was the reality that if I left I didn’t know where I would end up or have a genuine reason for leaving.  Either way I didn’t hate it as much as I once did. Plus I consider myself one of those people who like to finish what they started.  So why should finishing university be any different?

Now if you ask me “So, Gemma, why did I come to university?”

I would tell you it is because I wanted to take an opportunity to create a better future for myself.  I have so many hopes and dreams I wish to accomplish in my lifetime, and I know a university education is going to help me achieve these dreams. I have always loved writing and over the years it has helped me to reflect and reveal how I am feeling. For this reason I can’t imagine myself doing anything else but becoming a journalist (sorry forgot to mention that earlier :-) ) However, a career in journalism isn’t the only thing I hope to achieve in my life… I also set my sights on pursuing something in fashion: be it writing for a fashion mag, styling or event planning – I can’t put my eggs in one basket in this field!

More personally, I also wanted a chance to stand on my own two feet and learn how to GROW UP and stop relying on my mum to take care of me. Believe being so far away from home is helping me to do this.

I was still unsure how I felt about university going into the second term but speaking to my family and my old friends I knew what I needed to do. I decided to set myself a deadline for the end of the academic year to see how it went and IF I still felt the same then I would leave. Between that time I had a turning point, which finally made me see I was surrounded by wonderful people who genuinely CARED about me.  Finally being able to see this made me realise the people I was friends with helped me create a home away from home and now I can’t wait to go back to Coventry!

I will not sit here say that it is easy all the time; I’d be lying. I still have moments where I think “What I am doing here?”  But I have always believed in the saying “Everything happens for a reason”.  Weirdly enough, I am starting to believe coming to university, and this university in particular, is happening for a reason.

My top tip for the new batch of Freshers – ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF FIRST YEAR! Good or bad you will appreciate all of it by the end of the year and you will learn about yourselves from your experiences.

As cliché as it sounds the first year is the best year!

If I had to summaries my first year in one word… UNDEFINED