“My childhood is dissolving!”

243 days; 34 weeks; 8 months. This is the precise amount of time I have spent as a first year undergraduate student at Aberystwyth University, or a ‘Fresher’, as we are most often referred to. As exams draw to a close, people now begin uploading soppy, reflective statuses summarising their first year and recollecting the many drunken states they have found themselves in. Of course, I do not speak for everyone here; simply the majority of students I have observed [not just from Aberystwyth University, believe me]. So as I sit here in my kitchen with everyone around me cooking and enjoying their daily banter, I have decided to allocate myself some time to reflecting upon my own year. [Warning: Graphical content follows]
*Also, in case you are wondering where the title of this blog post comes from, I have decided to quote my friend. This comes from a hilarious situation the other night which involved his love and knowledge of dandelions being threatened. Of course, it was blown way out of proportion and he was quickly brought back to a firm equilibrium.*

It would only be fitting to start my reflection with what my first expectations of Uni were: hard-work, stress, plenty of alcohol consumption and living life as a pauper. In all honesty, only two of these came true and thankfully (I think) they were the first two. The work has certainly challenged me, but also taught me a lot of about myself in the process. I have developed my essay-writing skills and the feedback I have received has been more positive than I ever anticipated. I always imagined degree level work to be incredibly hard, and it certainly is! But I have managed to mature in to the higher standards and expectations with comfort and little stress.
As I mention above, I have suffered from a few bouts of stress throughout the academic year, but I think this comes with the role of being a student. Work has piled up, and I have struggled, but I have come through on top and I am very pleased about that. In fact, I have achieved consistent 2:1s in my assignments and exams, with one 1st (which I achieved a week or so ago) which I am thrilled about. Before getting down to work in September, I said I would be pleased to get a 2:1 towards the end of my degree, so to be achieving them already is very pleasing! All in all, I can honestly say I am very pleased with my work and academic achievements in my first year.

So now for the other aspects of University…

In terms of making new friends and relationships, I couldn’t be happier. My flat has been fun and full of interesting experiences. Admittedly, there has been some things I have really struggled with, like the mess other people make, but I have always been a bit obsessive with cleanliness anyway. Aside from that, the friends I have made are fantastic. A wide range of personalities has made life much more enjoyable and a lot of fun memories have been created. I have certainly made some friends that I expect to remain in contact with long after finishing my degree.
During Freshers Week, I didn’t really do as much as I should have done. I joined a few societies, and I only remained an active member of those for a few weeks, which I regret now. Despite having an on-off relationship with alcohol and ‘going out’, I do wish I had done it more often in the first few weeks. In the most bizarre way, it seems to be a great way of meeting people and having fun, despite people often talking a lot of shit due to the intoxication of their brain. Still- after considering it a lot, and hearing a lot of people’s opinions, I have come to the conclusion: “Fuck it!” We only live these university years once at this young, active age, so why not party hard? I feel I have the confidence to study hard as well as play hard. But as I say, it is something I didn’t really do as often as I should in freshers week, but I have taken the opportunity to go out as often as possible during semester two and had several memorable nights. For example, I have impressed people with my moonwalking and dance moves, and in the same way made people laugh. But then I have also had a few embarrassing moments, like the time I thought someone was pushing me from behind in the club. I got quite uptight about it and, in true Tom Dockerill fashion, I kicked off. Then realised that whilst my friend was shouting “She’s trying to pull you”, the girl behind me was merely trying to dance with me, and not threaten me in any way. After kicking off, I stormed off home in a drunken, moody state. Smooth, Dockerill, smooth…

So having finished my assignments and exams [as of today], I have 2 weeks left as an official fresher. This means I am going to make the most of it- I will go out with my friends and have a good time, hit the few clubs Aber has at least twice a week and try and improve my tragically embarrassing ways with women. Who knows, someone in the club might try ‘pull’ me again, and I might actually respond rather than telling them to ‘Piss off’. Then I have the entire Summer in Aberystwyth, which I will probably use to write as much as possible and hopefully make a bit of money to go towards my rent for the next year.
My aims for next year are to take a more active role in my societies, spend a lot more time getting pissed up with friends [on the off chance I’ll pull again, as no one would approach me sober!] and work harder.

So what do I feel about the first year? I feel pretty good! There are a few things I would change, yes, but overall I am satisfied with the progress I have made both academically and personally. Bring on second year!
See! This is a much better way of reflecting, rather than making a soppy Facebook status!

Until next time…

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