Forever a home bird, I found moving out and going to University difficult. Despite people telling me about this incredible new chapter/ season/ adventure I was about to experience, I honestly wasn’t overly buzzed to go. Which sounds dreadful, because most people I speak to are so excited for University. That’s not to say I wasn’t looking forward to it entirely, I just wasn’t as ecstatic as my friends. To me, it just felt like I was leaving behind my family and my boyfriend and stepping completely out of my comfort zone. It forced me to do things independently and my confidence in myself grew.
I became comfortable in my own company.
It’s funny how our minds embellish things, when I think back to my parents dropping me off at my halls of residence, I picture me stood in my room, surrounded by my stuff- simply wanting to cry. Which is actually super sad. I remember forcing myself to walk into the kitchen, introduce myself and make a cup of tea. I wasn’t to know, at that point, that my flat and I weren’t going to ‘click’ (What People Don’t Tell You About University). I think this is a general misconception. I honestly don’t know anyone who has got along with everyone in their flat. But I know pleeeenty of people who met friends on their course and through societies. Anyway, I ended up spending a lot of time on my own- and most of the time I liked it. I got into YouTube (a lot) and I started blogging. I skyped my boyfriend and family once a day too. I was comfortable in my own company. Though, I did find it hard to adapt to. Now the idea of being alone doesn’t intimidate me, but I know for sure that I prefer being with other people.
I could start a conversation with anyone.
I decided that as my flat and I didn’t ‘click’ I would make new friends. I mastered the art of walking up to people I barely knew and inviting them to coffee. Maybe I did come across loopy. But I felt lonely. I liked being on my own for short periods of time, but I needed to socialise. Otherwise I would have gone crazy. I had recently watched ‘We Bought A Zoo’ and one of the characters said that all you need is 10 seconds of courage. And that’s how I justified it. Because once I’d said ‘do you fancy going for a coffee?’ it was out there and I couldn’t take it back, no matter how silly I felt. I went on quite a few coffee trips, meals out and started being invited to social events outside my flat. So it worked and it boosted my confidence! One of the things that bothered me most was that I worried I was the problem. This proved that I wasn’t.
I realised I was OK.
That was one of the biggest, and most important lessons University taught me. I had struggled at school and had quite low confidence. College was good for me in that sense, but I became far more confident at University. I ended up thinking that if I smiled, waved or spoke to someone and they didn’t do it back it was their problem, not mine. What’s the worst that could happen when you wave at someone and they don’t wave back? You look overly friendly? I mean over friendly has never offended me.
I was confident in my own decisions.
I didn’t particularly enjoy my Freshers, I had a rather unfortunate experience on my first Freshers event, and it really affected me. I felt quite uncomfortable on nights out and I realised pretty quickly I wasn’t going to be peer pressured into anything I didn’t want to do. This was something I felt really strongly about. I did, and still do, only go out if I have my ‘wingman’ (or woman!) with me. I’ve never felt entirely comfortable with clubbing, it’s just something I get quite anxious about- and my solution was surrounding myself in people I trust. People I know wouldn’t leave me alone in a club, feeling vulnerable. This confidence through making decisions for myself made me far more self confident. I socialised with who I wanted and when. Even now, I try really hard not to give into peer pressure.
University hasn’t been the easiest journey for me, but it taught me a lot about myself and what I want out of life. I would love to hear if you learnt any life lessons at University, had a bad experience or feel like an experience has shaped you as a person.