I went to university at twenty-two. I left it a little late because I know for a fact I was not ready to go to university straight out of high school, which is totally fine. I always say the loneliest I have ever felt is the first day at a new place. I had my father give me a lift to my first day there, and despite this, it was that moment between walking to the induction meeting and leaving the car I should have felt most nervous.
Except for the fact I was lucky.
Not because I knew anyone there, not really. I joined a few groups on Facebook before starting and became Facebook friends with some people on my course. One very resilient new friend insisted that we meet up before the induction and go together. She is someone who remained my friend throughout the three years of university.
It does not matter how old you are. It really doesn’t. Those first-day nerves, interview nerves will just be there no matter what. Thinking back to my first day of university, my first week even, I cannot even believe I was really nervous at all.
These could be people who you’ll be friends with for the rest of your life. They could just be people on your course. You could date one of them, hate another… it is like starting school all over again. Except there are people from all over the world in your class now and these are not the people you’ve grown up knowing.
Ignoring the nerves, it is an incredibly exciting time.
Which is why I have decided to do it all over again, starting a masters in journalism, with nobody I know from my undergraduate degree — I am going in completely blind once again. I am thinking more about those first day nerves as my start date creeps closer. I have an advantage over some on my course, in that I have spent the last three years at university.
What to expect from that first day?
Oh, you know… the awful but typical ‘tell the class your name and a bit about yourself’. Oh yes, it doesn’t matter if you've climbed Mount Everest — at that moment you’ll stutter out your name and say ‘uh, I really like… cheese!’ and they’ll move on to the next stumbling wreck all whilst you fixate on how you should have mentioned that time you were an extra in a TV show (true story, you can find me in the first series of Sky One’s Stella - you’re welcome).
The best part is, you’ll have to do this one than once. Oh yeah, the teachers don’t keep tabs on which other lecturers have asked that question. I would say that is the worst part of the first day. You’ll be pretty much eased into your course. The first week is pretty much adapted to the belief you will be… well, drunk.