The end of my first year at University.

16 May

Well, my first year at university is now over. It’s been both the best and worst year I’ve experienced for a multitude of reasons. So much has happened and yet I’m still sitting here wondering how the hell a whole year’s passed without me noticing.

 

I’ve been wondering what I should say in this post, how can I summarise exactly how much this year’s changed me, made me stronger and at the same time pointed out my flaws. I still don’t know how to do this.

 

I guess that’s not a surprise though, in fact I’d say it’s been the trend throughout my first year here – not having the slightest idea what to do.

 

I don’t regret for a minute my decision to go to Glasgow. Yes, it’s been terrifying and at times I’ve doubted if it was the right things to do, not because I wasn’t sure about this as a career move but because I’ve felt so lost, isolated, overwhelmed and inadequate. Plenty of times I’ve been so close to giving up, falling apart and just running back home. Once or twice I’ve done so. But I got right back up, forged through the worst bits and finally started to enjoy my experience at University.

 

Sure, I’ve made a lot of mistakes – I’ve not handled situations as well as I would have liked to, I’ve done things I’m not proud of, things I should have known better than to do, I’ve spent too much time wrapped up in myself, I’ve lost friends I thought I’d have forever, I’ve let people down, at times I’ve forgotten who I was and tried to be who I thought I should be.

 

But in the end, I’ve gained more than I could have imagined. I’ve gained freedom. Freedom in myself, I think, freedom to live my life on my own terms. Freedom to make choices that, even though they may not end well, are still my own. Freedom to chose who I want to have in my life and who I don’t want. Freedom to do what I think’s right, not what I’m being told to think. Freedom to think.

 

With regards to my course work, being given the freedom to explore new ideas, to hypothesise, to prove myself right, or more likely wrong, to explore my own beliefs, in all my subjects. It’s been an eye opening year, realising that learning, or what I’ve taken for learning at secondary school level, is just one interpretation of a vast array of meanings. I would never have thought that it was even possible to learn like this, to learn by just thinking things through and seeing if you can agree with it.

 

During my last two years at school I noticed a shift in the way I learned things, more emphasis was put onto understanding at least the basics of an idea, not just spouting off a list of points. But at this level of study there’s no place, at all, for memorising bullet points or making strange mnemonics. Everything you learn is open to interpretation. Everything you learn is interpretation. You can’t just rely on knowing something; you’ve got to be able to analyse it, understand, question and deny things which, if you’d been given it at secondary school you’d have taken for fact.

 

Trying to learn this way has been one of the hardest parts about my course this year. It’s like trying to undo six years of classes and take a whole new perspective on, well, everything. But even after just one year I’m beginning to appreciate why this is a better way to approach not just my course, but learning in general. Too much emphasis is placed on examinations and answering questions in school, to the point that even subjects such as English and Religious studies could be past if you memorised enough facts and bullet points and put them together into coherent sentences. Now I’m learning things I know I’ll remember just by thinking it through, rather than forcing it into my memory like I’ve done for the last six years. It’s given me a confidence now in my own work that I’ve never experienced before.

 

I guess it’s this confidence, not just in my work but in myself and in my relationships with other people, that’s been the biggest benefit of this year. It’s completely changed me. I trust my own opinion now, whereas I was always doubting myself and seeking validation from others before this experience. I have the confidence now to face difficult situations without crumbling. I can handle the bad parts of this year because I have, for the first time, a confidence in myself that, no matter what has happened, or will happen, I’m strong enough to get through it.

 

So, although it’s been hard, and will only get harder, I think this has been a good start to my University career, and my ‘adult’ life. It’s not been plain sailing but I doubt I’d be the person I am now if it had been, and I doubt I’d have the resilience I do now when faced with tough situations if I hadn’t had the experience this year has brought me.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, even though it’s been hellish in parts, I’ve had the chance to meet new people, try new things, become a new person and learn to respect myself.

 

But I still haven’t figured out how to use a semi-colon.

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4 Responses to “The end of my first year at University.”

  1. pglt39 May 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    HI Jenchay long time no hear from you. As a daily poet I’ve missed you. Yoou have gone through a lot in your year and processed a lot of life learning. My poetry is not as often just had eye surgery I hope to be able in the long run to type better on the keyboard. pglt 39

  2. rubywingsheather May 16, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    *hugs* I know the feeling, it’s one of the reasons why there hasn’t been a blog post from me in a while and I’m struggling on how to word the end of year entry too. I just wanted to say that as you grow older you do need to put yourself first and you will let people down. Those that bugger off were never worth it, the ones that stay are your real friends.

  3. granbee May 17, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Wonderfully accurate how you summarize the way of learning at University is a matter of THINKING THINGS THROUGH, not memorization! If only I had been able to have just a single private room of my own (I was traumatize in early childhood by unexpected distant relatives barging into my room as young child at night!) instead of sharing a dormitory room with a roommate, my time at university would have been so much less of a constant battle to calm my inner fears! So glad you feel this way about your first year at Uni upon its completion. I have read very good things about the universtiy at Glasgow! Wishing all the very, very best for you in upcoming months.

  4. adollyciousirony June 3, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    You are loved my dear friend, please accept my gift for you here:
    http://allaboutlemon.com/2012/06/03/more-recognition-awards-and-you-are-loved/
    Dolly xoxo

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