Freshers’ week

17 Sep

I’m starting this blog after being pestered by two of my friends, who are now hundreds miles away from me and want to keep up with what I’m doing, as well as read some of my short stories and poems, which should eventually make their way onto this blog.
I moved up to Glasgow a week ago to attend Glasgow University Freshers’ Week, which has been much harder than I had ever imagined it could be. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a week since I left.
Like a lot of Fresher students arriving in Glasgow this week, I’m from a small village and have spent the majority of my first week here wandering around in a daze. The sheer size of Glasgow- with it’s never ending roads, it’s buildings stretching higher than appears physically possible, the intense mass of people- is one of the most intimidating experiences I have ever encountered.
I know this shouldn’t have taken me by surprise. Although I live more than two hours away I have been to Glasgow a few times, and pass through it quite regularly while on my way visiting family who live up north. I have seen all of these aspects of Glasgow but I was completely unprepared for actually experiencing it first hand.
It wasn’t too bad at first, I had my parents with me on Saturday, showing me around the city, so I hadn’t lost the feeling of protection that you feel when someone you can rely on is with you who knows what they are doing. It was an entirely different matter when I attempted the journey myself.
When I first walked down Byres Road from Murano Student Village (my accommodation) a wave of noise crashed over me, the smell of the different restaurants and chippies was thick in the air, the rain and wind from the tail end of a hurricane which had hit America the week before pulled me in one direction while the huge, jostling crowd forced me in another, I was bombarded by Freshers’ “Helpers” and sales folk offering me leaflets for free this and half price that and, to make matters worse, I had absolutely no idea where I was going or what I was planning to do. I felt completely lost and absolutely terrified and I didn’t have anyone to turn to for help.
I think that was when the reality of the situation finally sunk in. Before I had left home none of it was real; it was like all the plans I had made, all the discussions I’d had, even all the packing I’d done, had been for someone else. I had spent so long preparing for this, both at school working to meet my conditions, and over the summer organising my courses and filling in the infinite amount of paperwork, that I hadn’t even stopped to think about what it all meant. Then, all of a sudden, everything was happening at once. I didn’t have a spare minute to take it all in.
From that point everything happened so fast that, in all honesty, I still haven’t been able to just sit down and try and make sense of anything. Keeping busy during the day has helped me through this first week with fewer mental breakdowns than expected. I just don’t have the time, during the day, to sit and become overwhelmed by my situation. It was Sunday that I realised this, after getting a tour of Glasgow by my big cousin Amy. When I came back I was able to speak to my parents on Skype without instantly bursting into tears. So since then I’ve done everything possible to keep busy. This was the advice I got earlier in the year when I was trying to cope with depression – keep busy, don’t sit about doing nothing because it won’t help. This advice worked out quite well during the day.
I’ve spent the week visiting Freshers’ Fairs during which I signed up to far too many clubs and societies, taking the advice of someone far older and wiser and using a fake email for the ones I don’t want to join but was too polite to declined, Comedy shows, debates, inductions and drinks with new friends, which has been the unexpected highlight of my week.
Meeting new people has never been something I’m good at. I don’t have the confidence to just go up to people and strike up a conversation which has been the main worry for both myself and my parents. That said, I’ve managed to meet a few nice people this week and spending some time with them has made this week easier than it would have been if I had just locked myself away, like I’ve often felt like doing.
As soon as night arrived it was a completely different matter though. It’s not just my own lack of self-confidence that has kept me in at night this week. I have too many health problems to go out getting hammered with people who don’t know exactly what’s wrong and how to handle it and, although my flatmates all seem lovely, I’m not quite able to speak to them about my health issues. Not to mention that it’s really not fair on them if I end up fainting or becoming ill when they’re out.
So my nights have generally been spent alone in my room. It’s during this time that things start to fall apart. I know that I should be using that time to relax and take stock of everything that has happened, but I don’t. It scares me too much that if I start to think about what’s happened, and what’s going to happen, I’m going to regret the decision to come here.
I’ve spent a lot of time on Skype talking to my parents at night, which has helped somewhat, and coming home has calmed me down a lot. Now that I’m here I’ve got time, and space to figure out what’s what and get my bearings. Hopefully when I go back on Sunday I’ll have started to see things a bit more clearly. I know it’ll take time to settle down and get into a routine and things, but hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later!
Any way, I’ve rambled on for way too long already so I’m going to go now. Just one last thing to say, which is that I’ve never kept a blog before, and have never felt the desire to do so, so it may take a little while for me to get used to this. I’ve always thought that writing a blog, which you know no-one is going to read, is pretty self-indulgent, and a bit of a waste of time. But my friends are becoming way too insistent on the matter, and I’ve given in and agreed to a trial week to see if I can be bothered keeping it up. The wonders of peer pressure, aye!

JH

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3 Responses to “Freshers’ week”

  1. amonikabyanyuvva November 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    This really moved me, You are brilliant to get out there and do something when the easiest thing is to do nothing. I think ‘freshers week is far too overwhelming, and because I am looking on from a different perspective from you, I know it is going to get better. Keep trying to make new friends , but don’t worry if it doesnt happen all at once.
    My son is struggling with being away from home. it isnt easy. But it is worth it.
    Eat well, and get good sleepxx

  2. purple November 30, 2011 at 2:15 am #

    Hello, dropped in to see what your blog is all about, started here, and explored in all directions, tried not to grin like an idiot (ha ha) but thoroughly enjoyed poking around your words and talent (which you have, don’t worry) both in writing and in creativity overall. As long as you have some gllimmer of self-doubt lurking somewhere, I believe you will continue to express yourself and grow in your strengths (again, never fear, you have them). I look forward to witnessing a little of your journey and I will drop in again and read from time to time or marvel at your photoshop projects. Thanks for stumbling on my blog. Oh, and relax, enjoy life’s moments … the journey IS worthwhile.

    • Jennifer Hay December 4, 2011 at 2:14 am #

      🙂 Thank you! This is a really encouraging comment, and appeared just when I needed it! Thanks!

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