5 Things I've Learned in My First Year at Uni

My first year at university has been filled with a million highs and very few lows, but I can without a doubt say that I've learned a lot from the whole experience. If anything, I feel like I've learnt more about myself and who I am as a person (as cringey as it sounds) than anything about my actual degree subject - but that's the whole point of first year, right? So whether you're heading to university this September, planning to sometime in the future, or aren't bothered about going at all - here's a few things my new found independence has taught me over the last year. 

1. It's ok not to find "your people".

Before starting university I had this vision that I would have a huge friendship group with everyone on my course and we would be best friends, painting each others nails, planning girls holidays, walking to university together, etc etc. It's safe to say that I've had everything but that experience. Everyone on my course is lovely and frankly hilarious, but my true friendship group didn't form until a good few months into my first year.

I had always assumed that the people on my course would be my closest friends, and although they're all completely lovely, I never found that close bond with them. I've ended up building such a close relationship with my flat mates and people in our building with people studying courses from graphic design, to photography, to art history. I now know that an important thing to do is be open to a change in your vision when it comes to your university social life. 

2. You can be an introvert and an extrovert.

As everyone already knows, going out and drinking is a huge part of uni social life. It's a part that I've enjoyed, but it's also a part that can be very draining. It's ok to take some time off drinking and do some things you would normally do at home. There have been times at uni where I've been drinking for a week straight, and other times where I haven't touched a drop for a month. Both are absolutely fine and can be equally as fun. You don't have to feel pressured to fit an introverted or extroverted role. You can go out when you feel like it and stay in when you feel like it. 

3. Make sure to explore your likes, loves, dislikes, and hates. 

First year is all about finding your niche and figuring out what you want to do. Half way through this year I thought I would give it all up. I was adamant on dropping out of my fashion marketing degree and taking up an English degree at the neighbouring university instead. I went to open days, spoke to my lecturers and thought I was set to go, until I decided to take a risk and stick it out. I knew that I had chosen my course for a reason and although I really disliked the modules at the beginning of the year, I began to realise that discovering what areas I didn't want to work in in the future was just as important as finding the areas I would love to progress in. 

By sticking it out and developing my passion for writing and blogging, I've discovered exactly what I want to do (fashion PR) and have started making a route to get there. It's good to explore things you dislike and things you love about your course and figure out what it is that leaves you feeling proud and fulfilled with your work.

4. Stay ambitious and driven.

In the fashion industry, you can't put half the effort in. No one will hire you if you don't show that you are driven and aim to progress in your career. Even in a small university course of only twenty people, you have to strive to be the best (or at least the best you can be)! Find your best relevant talent and perfect it. Aim to get the best internships possible. Work your ass off. If you don't strive to be one of the best, you won't be. 

5. Don't compare yourself to others.

Although this may seem contradictory to my last point, you can strive to be the best without comparing yourself to others. You don't have to be the best at everything, just find an area you are particularly interested in and perfect your skills. Don't measure whether you're the best next to other's skills, measure it based on your progress. Do the best you know you can do.

You're not going to be great at everything on your course. There will be things you're not necessarily the most skilled in and comparing yourself to other people's level of ability will make you feel worse. I know that I felt awful when everyone was doing brilliantly with in-studio work (lighting, photography, etc) and I felt as though I was falling behind. The reality was that I wasn't falling behind, I just didn't enjoy studio work as much and therefore didn't have the urge to learn more about it like others on my course and that's not a bad thing.

You also have to bear in mind that people of all different skill levels will be on your course. There are people that will have worked in industry for a few years and people that have come straight out of sixth form or college. You will all be different and comparing yourself to others will not help you progress!

So those were the 5 main things I've learned in my first year of university! I could have written about learning how to cook, using the very difficult washing machines, or how to make friends, but I decided to go a bit deeper and tell the truth. Well, my truth at least.

Let me know your thoughts and experiences at university in the comments. I love to hear from you all!

Georgia x


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