Sunday, May 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Chapter: University, Term 1

I still have a vague recollection of what life was like before I came to university, and to summarise it in one word, it would have to be, simply, easier.

Now, I’m not trying to portray myself as some overworked, caffeine-riddled genius after one term of university, because let’s face it, no one is. But never before have I had so much to do in so little time. The first three months of my degree completely flew by, and with term two looming upon us all, I feel that now is the opportune moment for some reflection on the weeks gone by.

It would be mid-August of 2014 when I received my results, and the first call of university beckoned me. At the time, I knew I wasn’t mentally prepared for such a leap, so I took a year out. Another year vanished, and all my family and a select number of friends were pestering me with various questions accompanied with nuggets of sage wisdom about what university would hold; “You’ll have so many new opportunities!” they said. “You’ll be able to reinvent yourself!” they said. Last but not least, they also happened to say “You’ll make friends for life there!” I can attest that they were right about it all, but for me, the chance to make new friendships resonated the most. Back home, I had only really made a considerably small number of good, life-long friends. It took years to build those friendships into what they are now, so to have to go through it again in a completely new and alien environment was an unimaginably daunting prospect.

But it’s possible. You can make new friends, some of which I’m confident will be for long after we’ve left, at university. This may be obvious to some, but for others like me, it can be hard to throw yourself out there, to get involved or simply to say hello to someone as you walk by. All these little things add up to frequent interactions, and from there, friendships tend to blossom. It just so happens that so far, I haven’t committed all my efforts into my work or creating a new image of myself, which I should probably reevaluate sooner or later. Instead, I’ve found that the most rewarding times I’ve had here so far have been in the company of good friends, which ultimately makes this whole process worth doing.

Life may not get easier, but it becomes a great deal better.