Don’t worry if freshers isn’t always the dream you’ve been sold
Freshers flu’s got nothing on freshers blues
Starting university is always hard. You’re moving somewhere new with people you’ve never met before (and could potentially not get along with at all). To top it all off, we’re in the middle of a pandemic this year. Pandemic or not, uni is lonely, and it does not help to see everyone else super excited all the time and posting pictures all over social media. They all seem to be getting along with their new friends so much better.
The truth is, some people are just better at hiding how they feel. Most people just end up sharing the really good aspects of their life at uni, but at the end of the day, everyone really is in the same situation: new to university, probably homesick, and unable to tell if your flatmates do actually want you around.
“I feel like I know people but also, at the same time, don’t know anyone at all.”
We’re surrounded by so many people, meeting new people all the time, potentially making friends over a night, and then the next day? Nothing. Freshers is a big cycle of going out with people, hoping you’ve made a new friend, and then the next morning complete uncertainty.
I remember constantly thinking everyone else was so much closer to their friends than I was to the people I was friends with or spoke to, but I’m sure I looked happy too.
Remember what you’re grateful for
In my first year, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I could transfer to a university closer to home. I even ended up emailing them just to check that they’d let me transfer from Cardiff (they would) but my parents were adamant on me giving university ‘abroad’ a little bit more of a chance. I spent most days just sobbing, going to tons of different societies to make friends, struggling to interact with people. I genuinely couldn’t stand living in Cardiff.
I don’t remember why I started it, or what even gave me the idea, but to make myself feel just a little bit better and love Cardiff, I started to write down just one thing that I was super grateful for each day. Even if it was just the smallest things like eating my favourite meal, finally getting around to cooking, having a great shower, or making someone smile. But I also added other bigger things like speaking up during my academic tutorials or meeting someone new who I really clicked with.
Who am I going to live with?
One of my biggest worries was trying to find people to live with – my only real friend lived with her boyfriend, and everyone I knew had other friends they wanted to live with. Obviously you want to find a nice house with a group you actually get along with, but how do you find that two months into university? A lot of the time, you don’t.
I thought I’d found a group of people to live with and ended up turning down another group of friends, only for the initial plan to fall through. But that happens, especially if you’re anything like me and don’t communicate with people enough.
In the end, though, I built this problem up to be so much bigger than it actually was, although everyone I spoke to told me not to worry about it. There’s actually no rush, my best friend ended up finding housemates in August (yeah, literally a few weeks before moving in) and there’s always a ton of other options.
At the end of the day though, you’re bound to meet so many people at university. Some of them you’ll click with instantly and others you’ll take some time to get to know. It’s all part of the process and in the end, is a little bit of a learning experience. Everyone’s got to be alone sometimes, and while it can be a bit of a struggle – your first time or your tenth time – you end up finding your own ways of coping with it.
Cardiff University has a bunch of fantastic services like Talk It Out, the Buddy Scheme, Mind Your Head, Cardiff Nightline, Student Minds, and a society dedicated to developing a fulfilling social life, Meaningful Meetings.