I’m not a heavy drinker, nor a heavy party-er, I hate lie-ins, I never skip breakfast and the idea of missing a lecture makes me nervous. From that sentence you can probably tell I’m not your typical student, but the last few months have been absolutely amazing, I have made so many unforgettable memories and I have loved every second.
Freshers Fortnight took place in the first two weeks I was living in Cardiff. Moving in to my flat, I bonded straight away with most of my new flatmates, handy as I will be living with them for the year! By chance I ended up in an all girls flat, 8 of us in total, although at first I thought this would be a bit ‘clicky’ it has worked so well (so far) and I wouldn’t change it if I was given the chance. Luckily for me, not all my flatmates wanted to go out every night of freshers, we paced ourselves and went out every other night, and when I said I didn’t want anymore to drink or that I wasn’t going out with them, they totally respected that, which I am so grateful for.
Fresher’s fayre is an opportunity to get free food, free bags and a whole lot more free things, it also gives you a gateway in to finding a society or sporta club that interests you! At Cardiff Met, we travelled over to the other campus (Cyncoed), from where we live (Llandaff) for the fayre. Here I signed up to Chrisitian union and Kickboxing! There were a lot more sports clubs I would have loved to have joined but I wouldn’t have been able to make the training. In hindsight this may have been a good thing, as currently (2 months in) I am super busy and have no time for anything else! We were given free dominoes and free mcflurry’s to keep us going, and I filled my bag to bursting with goodies to take home!
The first month of uni is CRAZY I can tell you that much for sure, you meet a ridiculous amount of people every day, you go through the exact same three questions ‘what’s your name’, ‘where are you from’ and ‘what are you studying’ with each one of these people you’ve met. You laugh off the fact that you have already answered these questions 20 times already today, becuase you don’t want to come across impolite to your new friends, deep down you dread those questions! The second month slows down a little, you begin to find those with similar interests as you, and you start to settle in.
One thing I found difficult was the serious FOMO from late-night kitchen chats, every night we’d sit in the kitchen, whether we had been out clubbing or not, chatting into the early hours of the morning, on such random topics. However, I was usually one of the only one to have 9am lectures, so whilst everyone else slept in, I was up early and the lack of sleep did begin to take it’s toll. This still happens two months in, but I have become better at accepting I’ll miss a few good conversations in exchange for sleep!
Another thing I found hard to adjust to was doing things that you never realised you needed help for: I recently purchased and set up a new phone, and not having my dad to help me felt SO weird! Having to wait to have enough dirty washing is another example, at home there is always enough to make up a full load, at uni it feels like forever! My third example would have to be emptying the bins, I guess eight students generate more rubbish than my family would at home, but it feels like we’re always emptying the bins and taking them to the collection point!
Something that did surprise me, was how long it took to find running friends! I thought I would be able to find a few people to run with almost straight away, but it actually took me over three weeks. I now have two friends to run and chat with on a Tuesday evening, and someone to go to Parkrun with too! It was totally worth the wait as these girls are amazing! We established a route through the parks, but have now moved on to a safe route along the roads as it is too dark. We run about 5 km, maybe a little more depending on the route we chose, but we all get along really well and we chat the whole way! After running together we all go back to our flats to shower and then we take it in turns to cook for each other, this has been such a great addition to my week, having someone else cook for me is absolute bliss!
Budgeting and meal planning has been a massive change for me, embracing the student life means closely watching where I spend my money, I have actually found it quite interesting, but also slightly worrying too! A book my sister gave to me called ‘Uni & Me’ has been super helpful in this, it’s a journal with lots of different sections such as shopping lists, to-do lists, memorable quotes, budgeting tables and so much more! I would really recommend investing in one if you are starting uni soon! (you can find it in Paperchase or on Amazon!) For my meal plan, I use a weekly planner from Wilko, which I then pin to my wall each week! As a flat we’ve been out for birthday meals and sometimes walk to the local chippy so these are always taken in to account for as well!
Plus the benefits of being involved in a church means someone is always willing to provide a hot meal!
My diary has been an absolute lifesave when it comes to keeping on top of when and where my lectures are, who I am meeting, group presentations as well as what notes to write up. I found my diary in TKMaxx, it’s perfect for what I need, and has an inspirational quote on the front too!
To stay on top of everything, in the first week of term I wrote out all my lectures and the rooms they were in down in my diary, up till the christmas holidays. This also helped to prevent double booking so I could plan ahead events such as meeting friends or my parents visiting or planning day trips.
Whilst early starts are not usually a student-associated thing, the mornings are still my favourite part of the day, the flat is quiet, I can drink my coffee and read my book, look out my window at nature and listen to the birds. Not every morning has turned out like this, some days I’ve slept through alarms (and a flatmates knocked on my door so I didn’t miss lectures) and some Saturdays I’ve even decided not to go to Parkrun!
One thing I have fully embraced is napping, whilst some days I’ve been in lectures 9-7 (yup 10 hours) some half days (9-3 or 9-4) have been followed by a nap once I’m back in my flat. It (usually) makes the evening more productive, I’m in better mood, and I won’t need caffeine to finish my work! Though I can’t nap all day like some of my uni friends, I’ve certainly got a talent for it! I once had such a good nap, I woke up and thought it was morning so proceeded to eat a bowl of cereal, before realising it was actually 6pm….
Uni life also includes flat parties (great if they aren’t your flat), running really late for lectures, beans on toast, chilling in pjs, attempting to get your flatmates to clean the kitchen, forgetting peoples names, deadliness, a lot of buses, taxis and so much more!
In a nutshell I’m pretty sure that’s settling in to uni life! There will be a blog about Cardiff itself when I find the time, but in the mean time I hope you enjoyed it!