Yes, it's brilliant. For anyone who is starting university, considering university, or just randomly pondering the concept of it, it is brilliant. I remember leaping out of my bed and crying in disbelief when I found out that I'd been accepted into my top choice of university. In that moment, I knew my life was going to change forever, and a thousand doors were about to swing open in front of me. This was my chance to fly the nest and start anew in a different city, with different people and a different place to live.
A different city, with different people and a different place to live...
Yes, we all feel it. That pang of anxiety and doubt that will inevitably hit us in the weeks or months leading up to those first steps through the uni doors. It isn't pleasant, and it usually isn't a one-off. It's terrifying, you know. When you realise that you're about to start a completely different life on your own, at 18-, 19-, 20-years-old. You suddenly realise that you are one tiny person on one massive planet, and that you're about to be exposed to all this world has to throw at you.
When it hit me, I was sitting by the docks of my hometown in a pub, opposite my (then) boyfriend, eating a burger. We were both starting university in about two or three weeks' time, and were obviously chatting about it non-stop to vent our excitement. I looked at him, and then looked in on myself, and looked down at my burger, and my stomach dropped. Everything was about to change. Everything. I pushed my plate away slightly and forced a pained smile as he continued to go on about accommodation and whatnot, the bubble of panic rising in my throat, butterflies turning into moths in my tummy. I didn't want to go anymore.
I went home that night, as nervous as I was hours before, and thought through every decision I'd made up to that point. Was I about to jump from the frying pan into the fire? Was this a major fuck up on my part? Did I even want this? Of course I wanted it. I'd wanted to go to university since I knew what university was. But now it was real, it was happening. It was no longer a sugar-coated concept in my head that was a million miles away. It was here, right in front of me, and I had no idea what to do next.
The next day, I did the typical thing of any 2016 teenager feeling alone in a situation; I Googled it.
Really anxious about university
So scared for uni
Should I take a gap year after I finish school?
In reality, I was looking for a solution which would allow me to both obtain a university degree while not actually doing the uni thing. I was being irrational. I spent a good few hours surfing the web in an attempt to find my golden answer, but to no avail. I soon realised, much to my dismay, that I had to do this thing. I had to go to university.
September 18, 2016:
I'm here. I'm actually here. My parents have just left, and I'm standing alone in my dorm's kitchen, staring outside the window, with my stomach in knots. I greet my flatmates and pray to whatever I can pray to that they all like me (yes, in the first month of university, everyone wants everyone to like them. Prepare to kiss multiple asses and find out that you never liked any of them in the first place).
It was awkward at times: not knowing whether to go into someone's room for a chat or text them to ask if they wanted to go out and do something, fearing rejection each time. It was weird at times: remembering that, yes, you have to do your own laundry and that the dirty pasta bowl will not, in fact, clean itself. But, you know what? It was so much fun as well. Running to lectures with your newfound course-buddy and laughing as one of you steps in a massive puddle, eating so much for dinner that you're left lying on the couch moaning to your flatmates, running to the clubs at 11pm, drunk off your mind, wondering when life was any better than it was right in that moment.
I look back on it all now, 18 months later, and can't help but smile. Some of the most cherished people in my life have come from this place. I've had the most fantastic, unforgettable times, and I've laughed until my stomach ached. I've learnt so much about myself, my life, and those who have come into it. I've never been more glad to have done something. Coming to university is the best decision I have ever made.
So, if you're sitting there now, going back and forth on the decision on whether or not to apply, whether or not to actually show up, I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, that you will never look back. You'll be glad you made the jump. So, make the jump.