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I remember this time last year as if it was yesterday and it's crazy to think that I'm going into my second year of university. I know how terrified I was last year though because I hate change, and I had just started having panic attacks and my anxiety had got worse, but being anxious and apprehensive about leaving your school and family life which you have known for years to go to a massive city with thousands of people is completely normal! As with all of my blog posts, this is completely from my own experience of being a fresher, and everybody's experience will be completely different depending on the type of person you are and the university that you are at, but here's some things I learnt during my first year at Cardiff:

Everybody is terrified. Teachers, parents, friends, they all tell you to not be scared because "everybody is in the same boat", and yes, that's true, but it doesn't prevent the awkward greetings with your housemates. I was lucky with my 5 flatmates because we had all found each other on Facebook and chatted a little bit, which I found really helpful, but obviously it was still a bit awkward! You will laugh about your awkward first meetings a few months down the line! (Won't we Jess, with your welcoming handshake ;))

You don't have to be best friends with your flatmates. Obviously having to live with someone for a year kind of needs you to get along with them, but you can't force a friendship. I doubt you got on with everybody at school, and that will be because you're not interested in the same things. Whether it's music, films, celebrities, hobbies, anything, you won't have something in common with everybody you meet, so just get along, but you don't have to become BFFs.

Friendships change. Following on from the last point, you may not like someone to begin with, but come to love them by the end of the year. That definitely happened with me and few people, let it happen. This also applies to your friends at home. When I first went to university, I didn't want to get new friends because I missed the girls at home, but when we were all back for Christmas, I realised they all had new friends, but we were all still friends too. Having two groups of friends is completely fine. Also, referring to your "home friends" as I always called them, you won't talk as much as you think you will, and that's fine, everything will be normal when you see them.

Don't panic about your second year house. You don't need to start stressing about who you're going to live with in your second year in October. Like I've said, friendships change. We sorted our house just before we left for Christmas, and some people didn't do it until March. We're lucky in Cardiff because there are more student houses than students, but there's no rush. This is your chance to be with people you actually get on with!

You don't get a lot of help. Going from Kingsley to Cardiff was literally a big fish in a sink, to a small fish in the ocean. I went from having 4 people in my English class to 200, and it's fine, just a big change. It's also a big change in the form of being at school and doing coursework, you can hand in draft after draft until it's perfect; at university, you get one chance, no draft. Obviously you can email your tutors for help, but they won't read your whole essay and mark it for you. You have to have the motivation to do everything yourself.

Having a day off won't make you fail. Whatever the reason: hangover, too tired, ill or just not feeling it, missing a lecture or two won't make you fail. I wouldn't advise making skiving a regular thing, but if your mind is going to be elsewhere during the lecture, don't bother going, just catch up on the powerpoints later. Check your course mark doesn't depend on your attendance before taking that piece of advice though!

Everyone gets homesick. I spent many a night crying in my room wishing I was at home with my mum, and wondering why nobody else was homesick like I was. I've always been homesick wherever I've gone, but you're not the only one. Turns out everybody has their off days when they just want to be at home, don't worry! Ring your parents, ring your best friend, go and cuddle your flatmates. You'll be fine.

Go to Freshers Fayre. Go to them all, every single one! Even if you don't care what it's for, you get SO MUCH FREE STUFF. Food, t-shirts, pens, memory sticks, everything!

Cutlery. This is the piece of advice I give everybody who asks me about university, and was the best piece I was given last year. Have colourful cutlery! 3 people in my flat all had silver cutlery and it just made hassle for them trying to distinguish between each other's! It's so much easier to have patterned or coloured cutlery!

Learn your student number. Just a minor thing, but knowing it off by heart makes things a lot easier and quicker when you need it!

Have fun. Obviously at the end of the day, you want to do well, but please have fun doing it! There are hundreds of societies, sports teams, activities, and people to have a great time doing and with! Don't be a hermit who stays in your room all week then goes home every weekend, you'll regret it big time. I've missed university and my friends this summer and can't wait to get back in a month!

Any advice anybody wants to add, leave it in the comments!
If I can get through it, anybody can.

p.s I'd love it if you could subscribe to any future blogs by clicking the subscribe button at the top of the page!


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