I have known Ashleigh since we were sat in our form groups on the very first day of high school around 8 years ago so you could say that we have known each other for long enough to be able to ask each other anything. As she decided to abandon me and go to university while I stayed at home to have a gap year, I was able to watch how her first year at university panned out and hear all about it. It has been such an amazing insight into what I could expect. Because we are pretty close, I was able to ask her questions that you wouldn’t normally ask someone that you don’t really know so today, I am going to be interviewing her about her first year at university, her do’s and don’ts and get her advice on surviving the first year. So, let’s get started:
C: Hi bud!
A: Ha, hi bud.
C: Today, I am going to be asking you some questions about your university experience so all of us freshers can benefit from your wisdom. So, let’s get started!
A: Ok, cool.
C: Firstly, before even moving in, did you join any Facebook groups or apps that allowed you to meet your flat mates online?
A: I didn’t before I moved in, no. I didn’t want to get talking to somebody and really like them and then they are completely different in “real life”. I kind of did it the old-fashioned way and met all of my flat mates face to face. I did however join my Facebook group for my accommodation but I never commented on anything or chatted to anybody. Then, after I had moved in and everything, I joined all of the group chats and Facebook groups.
C: What was it like moving in to a place on your own and do you have any advice for moving in day?
A: I was really nervous but also excited. I was just happy to be gaining a lot of independence and I felt the space really suited me. I guess my advice would be socialise with your flat early on so that you can get to know each other. Maybe, get a bite to eat with them or something?
C: Are there any essentials that you think are a must to buy for university?
A: Personally, make sure you have loads of pictures in your room. It makes it some much homelier if you have pictures of your friends and family on your wall. Within my first week I printed off so many pictures and covered my notice board with them. Maybe even add some fairy lights?
C: What was your experience of Freshers week? Were you busy or did you find yourself with a lot of spare time?
A: I expected it to be party, party, party and I guess that’s what it was like. Every night seemed to be a late night. I had a little bit of free time in the day but there were so many activities that kept me busy. Not all of my activities were amazing but loads of them were.
C: Did you get home sick and how did you get through it?
A: Yes. I think everybody did to be honest but I got it much worse than I thought. My advice would be to just stick it out. It sounds so harsh but it really works. There will just be that day when you realise you haven’t felt sad or missed home and you won’t look back. While you’re feeling home sick, just call home and chat to people. It lets you know that they are still there and aren’t going anywhere. Also, keep yourself busy. Always works.
C: When you started your course, was it difficult to socialise with people or was the atmosphere quite chill?
A: When walking into a lecture, I felt like everybody knew each other so it was quite scary at first. All I did was look for other people sat on their own and introduced myself. You know if somebody looks nice and they generally are once you start talking.
C: How did you find meeting friends? Was it tricky or did the university help make it really easy?
A: My university didn’t help at all with making friends. There weren’t any ice breakers or anything. It’s all down to you really.
C: Are you happy with the course you chosen and the university you chose to study at?
A: I am studying Graphic Design at Huddersfield and I love it. I definitely made the right choice for me!
C: Did you find the work load manageable?
A: Yes. The college I went to previously to studying my degree set a similar number of projects therefore I was quite used to the way that the course run. I think that helped massively.
C: Did you join any clubs or societies? Did you find that joining these benefitted you at university? Would you recommend other people to join clubs or societies?
A: I joined the badminton and volunteering societies and I loved them. It was a brilliant was to make friends that had similar interests to me and I would definitely recommend joining them… Even just one.
C: How often did you visit home?
A: Surprisingly, only when I needed to (birthdays or uni holidays.) Once the homesickness went, I was really comfortable at university and didn’t need to come home.
C: Did you get a job at university? Do you think it is essential to have a job while studying at university?
A: I did but I didn’t like it at all, because it wasn’t what I expected. Plus I didn’t really need one to be able to live. I worked out a weekly budget, that was easy to stick to, so I didn’t really need a job. Especially if it was a rubbish one that wasn’t worth the sweat. Plus at the end of the year, you are so busy with work and deadlines, therefore having a job wouldn’t help with the work load. I understand why people get them but I personally didn’t need nor want one.
C: Do you think that university is gearing up to being some of the best years of your life so far?
A: YES! you make friends so quickly so you know them really well. Plus, the independence and everything like that is amazing. I am feeling really positive about the next few years.
C: Tips for making friends and spotting the diamonds in the rough?
A: Trust the good vibes you’re getting from people. You meet so many people anyway that you are bound to click with at least one person. Also, you meet a lot of people through other people. I met a girl in Freshers week who had a friend who was on my course. So, we ended up being really good friends as we had the exact same timetable and saw each other all the time. Friendships happen so organically that you don’t really have to worry too much.
C: Were you a big drinker? If not, how did you get around that?
A: Not at all. I don’t mind a drink but you won’t see me having 10 tequila slammers in a row haha. I didn’t go to a number of parties and I didn’t feel like anybody was leaving me out of thinks or looking at me weirdly. Don’t worry about being antisocial or anything if you don’t want to go out. Don’t try to fit in because you don’t have to get rotten drunk to have a good social life. I went to pre-drinks but not the party a fair few times and I found that really fun.
C: What was your favourite thing, moment or part of university?
A: Being able to spend so much time with your friends. I have had the funniest of times because we can meet up so easily. I adore going out for people’s birthdays, having meals out and anything like that. Making so many memories is always fun.
C: Finally, is there anything you wish you did or knew before you started university?
A: No. Any rubbish parts weren’t in my control therefore everything else that was in my control, I am quite happy happened. I can’t wait for 2nd year!
C: Well, thank you very much Ashleigh!
I hope this has given you a little bit of useful advice to take with you through. Obviously, these are all Ashleigh’s own opinions and they aren’t always shared with every single person. If you have already started or even completed university and have any advice for us freshers then comment down below and share your wisdom… I need all the advice I can get haha. I hope you have enjoyed today’s post and I will see you tomorrow with day #48 / day #4 of university week – bye!