My gosh, I was a very keen fresher. I wanted to enjoy myself, after a painful year or so. The end of my time as a sixth form student was rocky, to say the least. By some miracle, York still accepted me as a student. With this relief, I was fuelled up to dance and drink the stress away, before cracking down to study. I certainly lived up to the Derwent stereotype of going a bit bonkers. It was harmless fun though and I don’t remember having any bad hangovers during fresher’s week. If I must be honest, the first half of the first term did not even feel like I was at an academic institution because of all the fresher events. Now that I look back on it, the first year was a breeze, although this feeling of chillness was aided by the fact that summer summative essays were cancelled. However, this meant that the 2019 cohort of freshers missed out on a third of their fresher experience. I was looking forward to going out and not freezing waiting in line at Kuda.
The second-year was great, even with COVID-19 restrictions messing up the format of lectures. Oddly enough, I seemed to be okay with Zoom lectures. I was thriving academically, and I can officially say that I was smarter in the second year than in the third year. Anyway, my house still knew how to have a good party even with COVID-19 restrictions. Nevertheless, I missed clubbing and it certainly made me regret not going out more in the first year. I did face a few blips since I had more time to myself due to COVID-19 restrictions. I became quite a bit more cynical about my body image and I did some very unhealthy things to shape myself into my ‘desired image’.
Thankfully that didn’t last too long, and I was back to concentrating on my academic journey, my extracurricular pursuits and enjoying time with my friends. Even with COVID-19 restrictions, I was not restricting myself. With the help of a little ego boost from YUSU, I decided to run in the YUSU elections for BAME Students’ Officer. Campaigning was fun but a little stressful. Since I was also taking part in the York Leaders Course. Even so, I learned that I could multitask and push myself far out of my comfort zone.
Third-year started fabulously, and I wish it didn’t go by so fast. I admit I was acting like a fresher again, but it was worth it. I started to crack down on my academic work before the spring term started, which was a wise decision. I knew the third year was crucial and I think I put too much pressure on myself at first. I’m not talking about constant all-nighters and emotional breakdowns. What I mean is beating myself up over good marks, but marks not up to my expectations. I’m waiting on my final marks, and I hope not to be overly disappointed in myself if things aren’t 100% up to scratch.
Loneliness had become a massive issue in the third year that I have had to deal with, especially with deadline season. People can’t hang out as much and even when I have been surrounded by others, I have felt overwhelming loneliness. I have tried to pick up hobbies to combat this, but to no avail. You would think that being an only child would have prepared me for this but, quite the opposite. Even so, I do think that being lonely has been a valuable experience and I have, slowly, started to combat the negative effects of being lonely. These years have been the best of my life, so far. Of course, I have experienced some struggles with academia and personal issues, but overall, I am going to miss being an undergraduate.
I have made some wonderful friends and amazing memories that smother some haunting ones of the past. I have learned valuable skills and I have grown as a person. Of course, there’s still plenty of time for me to develop as a human, but my undergraduate years have set me a solid foundation for preparing for adulthood.