Diary of a Fresher 2013/2014- Part 3…

So the end of the first semester is upon us and I can’t quite believe how close Christmas is. Because Christmas seemed to creep up on us so quickly, in an effort to make my floor more festive, I took the liberty of buying of what was imaginatively named “Snow in a can;” with which I sprayed on door windows around the floor. Rather than appreciating my handiwork, people unknown to me thought it would be a good idea to write obscene words in the snow within hours of the decoration being up. I was only trying to add some cheer, but hey ho (ho ho…)

In any case, workloads have been relatively heavy, and this culminated in my first proper student all-nighter last night, in order to finish my last essay. 6.19am was when I finally finished. I thought I would shut my eyes for a few minutes afterwards, the next thing I knew was it was suddenly 1 o’clock. Always good. Unlike normal people, I’ve been, let’s say, ‘blessed’ with an ability to not actually find anything to write about until a deadline is approaching. Not the worst trait to have as a journalist, I think (sincerely hope), but it doesn’t exactly help the blood pressure…

With different courses finishing at different times, goodbyes have already been said to some, and the floor definitely feels emptier. That said, my time to leave is tomorrow and I’ll definitely miss the flatmates/friends from the course over the Christmas period. I’m sure this is the same in other places, and as I’ve said previously in this little series, it feels like we’ve all known each for a lot longer than we have done, which means everyone has grown pretty close quite quickly.

As much as I have enjoyed uni life so far, it will be nice to spend some time at home. There are only so many pasta dinners/late nights a man can take… so a bit of time to recharge will do some good. 

Another piece of good news is that I have Fridays off in the second semester, which means I will be able to go home for the odd weekend to break up the time at university; which I haven’t been able to do at all so far. Seeing most people I live with go home for most weekends does leave the place quite empty, and with, frankly, not a lot to do over a weekend. I’m almost certain that my flatmates (that do stay over a weekend) will agree with me as well. 

However, back to now and it is a strange feeling I’m experiencing at the moment. It’s a mixture of excitement to go home again, to get back to my job, sadness at leaving uni for Christmas; and, I can’t stress this enough, massive-bags-under-the-eyes tiredness. But, a night in your own bed is probably the best thing many people can experience, and it is SO underrated…

Diary of a Fresher 2013- Part 2

So tuition is now firmly underway, and time is definitely moving a lot faster. Hard to believe that I’ve been living here for almost a month already! Looking around and from speaking to people, I think it’s actually starting to hit home to most of us that being at university isn’t just about drinking and going out. Who knew?

Time passing will bring different kinds of challenges in every sense of uni life. I know I’m not exactly end of third year, but hey ho. For a start, you’re actually learning again, and that can be an issue in itself! But as previously alluded to in the first post of this little series, the flatmates are there to help each other get through everything that can possibly be thrown at you. Which is always handy as a nice safety net.

But one particular path that we all must cross at some point is the subject of hair. Being the son of a hairdresser, paying for a haircut is something I’ve never had to worry about, nor have I had the dilemma of watching a stranger cut my hair completely contrarily to how I asked it to be done. But I decided to be the ‘guinea pig’, and be the first one from the hall to try the local barber.

I had a thought to myself over the summer, and worked out a little philosophy for myself to live by: If you can afford to pay a little bit more for something, do it. Because nine times out of ten, you’re more than likely to be better off than when you pay half the price for something that will only last half as long/be half as good in general.

Being a student, I now almost see it as my duty to be perpetually skint. So I decided to go against my own advice and choose the cheapest local barber I could find. Bad idea. In short, I essentially paid a distinctly reasonable (I think, I’ve never known the price of a trim!) £9.50 for a very friendly Italian man to ignore how I asked for my hair to be done, and for him to quite literally attack my hair with clippers and scissors for half an hour. It would’ve been less than that had he not decided to have a tea break half way through to chat to his mate, while I sat in the chair scared for my life… I had asked for the top of my hair to be trimmed very slightly but even my trademark quiffe has now disappeared! I’ll now spend what I saved on a hat for the foreseeable future, methinks. On top of that, after the haircut he decided to slap some product in what was left of my hair, and slicked it back to make me look that bit more sleazy. Cheers, Claudio…

Weekends in halls are a decidedly different experience from that of midweek; particularly during the day. From my side anyway, being around 300 miles away from home doesn’t exactly lend itself to simply popping home for the weekend, like most of my flatmates can do. Nor does it exactly fill any friends from home with an immediate urge to come and see me up north either, which is completely understandable. I would be lying if I said that it isn’t a lot quieter at weekends, especially when there’s no football on that we can go and watch! But I suppose that’s just part and parcel of living away from home. There are good days and there are not so good days, but once again that’s when friends come in handy! (I know, I even made myself cringe with that one…)

With this newfound independence of living away from home, I have discovered one thing: I’m terrible at ironing, washing, and just generally keeping everything tidy in my room. Who knew that my parents would actually be right about me being useless at domestic everyday tasks? You can’t fault them for trying to teach me but there’s only so much they could do… I guess I’m just going to have to step up a bit. This could go one of two ways…

 

 

 

Diary of a Fresher 2013/2014

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a fresher already, about to be a fresher, or have memories of being one in years gone by. If you do read this to the end and think “Well, that’s happened to me, what was the point of that then?” The point is that you are going through/have gone through the same thing. Because the main thing that I have noticed already from being on campus at Leeds Trinity University is that EVERYONE is in the same boat. That empathy has led to close friendships being formed instantaneously from walking through the door for the first time. I feel like I’ve known my flatmates for months already, and it has only been five days so far. Being chucked together in the same hallway tends to have that effect, I’d imagine. Perhaps in the same way that cell-mates in prison get to know each other when they’re put away. Or an analogy to that effect that sounds a bit more cheery.

Not that I’m trying to compare University to prison in the slightest; it’s quite the opposite. From a personal perspective I can’t say a bad word about the place as yet. Yes, the ceiling in my room has inexplicable holes in it but I’ll cross that bridge when they become big enough to make me freeze in winter. No biggie. In a sense, that cheap and cheerful student lifestyle adds to the whole experience; we know we aren’t in five-star hotels but we just get on with it and enjoy ourselves.

As I write, tuition hasn’t started yet. When it does, the complexion of life may change somewhat, as we will actually be here for a purpose other than a cycle of drinking, meeting people and sleeping (in that order). I know for a fact that most, if not every student at any University this year will be looking forward to starting their course if they haven’t already. I’ve already had the all-too-uncommon thought “Oh yeah, I actually want to learn…” I can’t say that’s happened to me before any academic year. Ever. The only reason I can think of behind this is that everyone is here because they have the ambition to get the degree and job they want, without having to go through lessons that they don’t like at all. I can’t say that RE was much of a highlight when it was on my school timetable…

Of course, homesickness is a factor, and it will be the same feeling whether you’re three miles from home or 300. For most freshers this is the first time we’ve been away from home, and for some it is harder to adjust to that than others. But the beauty of empathy is that you will always have your flatmates to lean on whenever you’re not feeling great about being away from home.  

In any case, I’m sure I’ll keep you updated through the year; and if you’re going through the same thing, that makes writing this worthwhile. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get changed into a “Where’s Wally?” costume for a themed night. I’m loving Freshers’ Week.