Sooo… you’re 18 and you’ve just started uni. These are pretty exciting times and actually the beginning of exactly what you’ve been wishing and waiting for for the past few years – they call it “adulting” – it’ll come in a few more years but this is without a doubt the first stepping stone. You’ve still got a lot to learn – cooking is one of them (that Sainsbury’s pre-cooked chicken is about to become your best friend, but so is regular Burger King and also Nando’s, yeah – that “exercising” you did before your trip to Turkey? The results are about to be reversed and then some. But not to worry, you haven’t got your mindset in the right place just yet to learn a lifestyle change is the best option… it’ll come). Cooking (and using a washing machine in the right way) are just the trivial things – you’re actually going to learn more this year than you ever could have anticipated. Hope you’re ready for one heck of a rollercoaster.
I know all you want to do is have fun. What did you and one of your friends call it? You want to “YOLO” your way through first year. Actually, this is not a bad mindset. There’s not many situations like the “first year of university” that you get in life – absolute freedom for the first time with very little responsibilities – so by having fun now you’re not going to yearn for it when everyone starts to buckle down in second/third year and, over the years, your “sensible” clock just ticks up and up (but not so much that you lose yourself 😉 ). Be careful about how “YOLO” you’re going to be. Try to surround yourself with people you trust and most importantly respect, because those are the ones that are going to look out for you (not the ones that all disperse at the end of a night and nobody even knows how eachother got home, nope).
School – you actually manage to pull this out of the bag this year, despite the fact that all your homeworks were copied and your studying was super last minute. But just beware, when you do buckle down you’re going to have to put in the shifts. On the plus side, you’ll have a “study buddy” to do this with. More of the study issues come in your second year when you realise (in hindsight only) that your technique for studying is actually sort of whack – it’s fine, you get your 2:1, but the reach for that 1st required a bit more fine tuning in this year you’re in now. It’s up to you really but it will require some sacrifices.
I know you’ve been hearing whispers about “internships” and “Spring weeks”, and thinking about this sort of stuff is the last thing you want to do. Let’s be honest – you came here thinking about turning up, now you’re telling me you have to write applications? Ugh. That said, the key is to focus on yourself and to block out the whispers. Enlist the help of those you trust, you big brother and Rare recruitment will be two major keys in getting some crisp applications together. It requires a bit of hard work – but you’ll end up somewhere pretty well respected and prestigious if you want to, if you put your mind to it. Actually, you end up doing your Spring week at the very first place you apply to. Maybe you should sit down and explore what else is out there, trying out different industries may be a good thing when it comes to making your final choice about what you actually want to do (versus “damn, I got a role, tenk god! the search is over”). Regardless, I’m of the belief that the door never truly closes on anyone.
Shall we talk about boys? Hot topic, I know. I know you expected to step into that campus and be blown away by top echelon eligible bachelors – whew! Fine men no pimple on a platter was what the internet promised you. This would help you execute your plan of having a “tester” boyfriend in first year, to eventually meeting the real deal in second year. Well – this sort of and sort of doesn’t happen. Plan “fine men no pimple” doesn’t work, you end up meeting someone who doesn’t actually tick off anything on the list of what you’re after. They don’t even go to your uni or any uni in the vicinity. Actually, you don’t really like them at all (girl, what are you doing?) Well, it’s not serious… right? Regardless… my advice would be not to settle for someone you think isn’t as good as you, and then not to feel bad for thinking someone isn’t as good as you. It’s going to work out for you. At the same time, sometimes you need to eat shit to see the light. Maybe if you didn’t meet that first guy, you wouldn’t have ended up a pretty good guy next year – so good that it’s 4.5 years later he’s still your favourite person.
You’re going to make some great friends, and they’re going to bring a good balance to your other great friends that you call your “girls from home”. Actually, the people that you end up meeting in uni start to really influence your mindset – and mindset is so important – I know you haven’t considered that yet. Maybe if you already had your mindset in check, you wouldn’t have been too scared to apply for the ACS committee (WiB committee is still a gig though!), and you would already know how to think for yourself (and not just senselessly follow others). Well, what I can say is that, it takes some time, but all these years later your mindset is a lot stronger and you are a lot more confident. Some of the friends you start to meet will be your friends way after university has finished, some of these friends will probably drop off your radar post graduation and some you’ll continue to see but only when an event calls. Sorry to break it to you, but one of your two closest friends at the moment will no longer be your friend in aboutttt… a year and a half. Things don’t end well. Think of it like a “friendship breakup” – those things are real you know. They hurt just as bad or maybe even more than the “relationship breakup”. But this is part of life – c’est la vie is the saying? And the whole ordeal also ends up seriously building the foundations for who you become.
I say “who you become” but I’m sitting here and can tell you there’s a lot more of “becoming” to do (word to Michelle O). I’m still young and still don’t know what the f I’m doing but figuring it out as I go along and honestly? So far, so good. Maybe in another few years, I’ll do a letter to myself now.