Today we come to the end of my first year at uni.
I have finished two semesters of work, and 8 subjects.
I made roughly fourteen new friends. Maybe 15, if I’m pushing it.
I handed in around 20 assignments.
My hair was four different colours.
I have spent my entire time at uni so far single.
I have the rest of the year to go, to be fair.
People were telling me that uni is the best time of ones life and it is when one truly finds or understands themselves. However, now that I am in university and I tell people what I have been told, they scoff and tell me no, really I’ve just got to try and get through it. Cynics.
I don’t know whether I’ve found myself, but I can trace a clear trajectory from the first day to the last. On the first day, my hair was pink (blood orange), I was nervous and I was sad because I had just broken up with my boyfriend. Today, I have people to regularly sit with, I have an undercut and I know my way around the campus. It never occurred to me at any point to drop out of my course, although I did consider changing it but, after seeing my classes rapidly decrease, I realise that’s not usual- I’m glad to still have that feeling of belonging.
I can clearly remember the moment I made most of my new friends- in the first week, although I was very quiet, for my “secret talent” I wrote “story telling”. The only other person in the class with something similar was my new friend E, who wrote he’s good at talking. Another friend I made over her reading my blog post while we were acquaintances on breakups- she too had just gone through a break up. Although I met one girl very late last year, I would confidently say we were only made friends during my time at uni- similarly, I met another girl when I was in primary school but only truly got to know her over good food and reflection as we decided to meet up this year.
I think I have gained more than I have lost, although I feel l have lost a little.
I have lost contact with many of my year 13 people, and lost that comfortable atmosphere although I strive to keep in contact with those who are important to me.
I have lost a bit of anxiety as I have found where I am meant to be, but gained a tad of depression, which mellows life out. This year at uni, I started seeing a counsellor.
I lost (got rid of, flung out a window) a crap job and gained two great ones, one actually working for my uni- I met an old friend while making a speech at open day.
I did actually gain a lot of knowledge about teaching, and heaps of experience in the classroom (both the opening photo and the blue banana are characters made out of playdough by some kids I did a workshop with).
I have lost a lot of time to gaining great stories.
I know I am better off and I suspect I have changed in ways I cannot even see.
The year didn’t turn out how I’d thought- I haven’t been to any mad parties, I haven’t travelled, I haven’t found the love of my life. However, I have tried tea flavoured jelly, duck with waffle fries and a sweet Indian dessert I was previously too afraid to get. I have been to three concerts (two by myself), been to a French bar and gotten Netflix. I attended two different university bible groups, smuggled onto campus by my friend. I have done things that seemed previously impossible, especially when I had a safety net of people- I am blessed with parents who are protective but have encouraged me to pursue adventures and opportunities. Although I still prefer the bustle of children, I started hanging out with an elderly gentleman, learning patience – a lesson that has waited too long. Not a conventional adventure, but still a journey.
All in all I am grateful for a year that was largely out of my control. It was not always fun, but I believe it was always monitored by God, laughing benevolently at my roller coaster ride. I say benevolently because, after all, I am still alive and do not regret anything. I have purchased a planner for next year which has a large focus on to do lists and goals and resolutions and on one hand, I am immensely excited to fill in those lines and tick those boxes but if there is one thing I have learned from this year, it is to embrace the unexpected routes and trust in God unreservedly.
And, as I say, the year itself is not yet finished.
A comic found in Science class, artist unknown.