My second year of university has been a do-over; a nine-month resit, if you will, of the ﬁrst one. There was nothing wrong with my freshers experience, per se. I wasn’t bullied in halls and I was lucky enough to avoid any issues with my mental health. Nor did I particularly have any trouble with academic commitments. It was altogether pretty mediocre, in fact, and that is my main gripe. Stuck out in oﬀ -campus halls and too self-aware to get involved with any societies, life with my ﬂatmates revolved around a constant cycle of sitting and tepidly debating whether we should try and get drunk or not.
Call me insensitive, but there’s a part of me that wishes some fantastic drama had occurred in that initial year, even if it was one detrimental to my own wellbeing, because there’s nothing worse than being aware of your own plodding-along in life, contributing very little and doing nothing much to change it. Perhaps this is a more common experience than I’d thought.
With much proclaimed in the build-up to university life, the hype leaves little room for anything other than disappointment.<span style=”color: #008000;”>
So much fervour is generated to push us into higher education that the chances of replicating the anticipated utopia is slim. Yes, there are people who manage it, and good on ‘em. But for those of us who struggle to adjust to such a big change, no quarter is given. While you’re still cradling that tear-drenched family photo in your shaking hands, the more evolved among us have unleashed their conﬁdent selves onto the world, and there’s no stopping them then. Left in their wake, one is lurched into a sense of violent malaise, suspended somewhere between trying to escape and wanting to give up and crawl back home.
This being the case, second year is a safety blanket. I don’t know quite how it happened, but, from September, I just began to feel happier with what I was doing. And a lot of it was the result of being more comfortable in my surroundings. It’s obvious that for a lot of people the jump from school to university, with all the alterations it brings, is a diﬃcult one. And while ﬁrst year refuses you the time to complete this transition, second year is a second chance, where, once you have adjusted to what university brings, the mistakes and regrets from your ﬁrst time around can be rectiﬁed.