student life

Reflections on the student experience

student life, university, experience, Alex Marsden, Kettle Mag
Written by AlexWRamsden

I’ll start by using that horrible, old cliché: it seems only yesterday. But it really does seem like it was a few hours ago that I started on my university journey. Having almost finished second year it’s left me wondering: where does the time go?

We definitely have fun though. Going back to September 2014, I’d just messed up my A-Levels and ended up at my second choice uni, a shy lad who got nervous just saying hello to people. Once I was out of my shell then I’m sure everyone would agree what a cheerful person I really am!

That was my last summer in the doldrums, the final goodbye to the dole queue and the dejection of being an unemployed twenty-one year old stuck in the lower reaches with very few prospects.

New prospects

I might not have gone to my first choice but it was a place at a university, one with a good reputation as well. I had to hit the ground running and not get hung up with social anxiety. “Will they see me and immediately think I’m strange? Or “If I don’t socialise as much then I’ll be an outcast”.

Fortunately for me, I have the best flatmates in the world and this was never really a problem.

I didn’t come to university to try and change the world, I came to make my own world a far better environment. Hopefully, in just over a years’ time, that goal will have been achieved.

There were times when I felt that I wasn’t getting involved in things enough. There were times when I drank too much and there were times when the banter flowed at that perfect time and place. Over a year and a half later and I’m more bloated, older, get less sleep and have a poor diet but I wouldn’t change any of it. Oh yeah, the work.

Well, that’s not too bad. Just get my head down, get stuck in and get it done no worries. The social side is far more important to me than worrying about whether you’ve got a First or a 2:1, as silly as that sounds this country has basically zero prospects for somebody of my background, degree or not.

Making my world better

Going from a shy, self-conscious and extremely skinny Grimbarian to someone that talks to everyone about anything has been a real, noticeable change. I think I might have grown up. By the end of this year, I’ll be 23 years old so I can hardly act like a drunken, irresponsible teenager anymore.

I haven’t acted like that for months now. I’ve just been living the moment, enjoying the experience and holding on for the ride. When it’s all over and I’m in a mountain of debt and have to grovel for a job at a fish factory, I can look back at the times that make me happy.

I didn’t come to university to try and change the world, I came to make my own world a far better environment. Hopefully, in just over a years’ time, that goal will have been achieved.

What do you think? How has university changed you as a person? Have your say in the comments section below.