Hello, and welcome to university!
It is with great pleasure that I tell you it’s about to take you by the reigns and you’d better like it. So while you’re still getting over the hazy, exhilarating effects of OWeek and adjusting to classes starting, I have news for you: university changes you. And, trust me, it’s for the better.
By now you’re probably in your second week and this means it’s all pretty easy right now: reading the bare minimum and prioritising Netflix over uni work. You have so much time until your first assessment, it’s raining, and you’d rather be in bed.
I presume your high school friends are still getting your life updates; you make time in your schedule to FaceTime them or tag them in memes. But trust me, slowly your preferences will change and university life will start to take over. You have tutorials to go to, you want to hang out with your new friends and you want to sit on the Law Lawns with Campos coffee talking about the latest Manning party — I’m kidding, that never happens.
I know this because I was once this first year. I started drifting apart from the life I once knew and was comfortable with, to the one that was slowly emerging. I was finally doing the things I had planned and dreamed for, yet I felt guilty. By default, I was giving more time to meeting new people and neglecting my friends back home. But don’t worry — it’s okay, neither of these experiences can exist without the other. Each new situation builds off your past experiences. They prepared you for this.
Somewhere between week six and eight you might notice that beyond meeting new people, the kind of music you like has changed. From classical and smooth rock to realising that you like metal jams because of all the intricate guitar riffs, irrespective of the screaming. The kind of people you like has also changed and they no longer know everything that has happened to you from your first day at high school to now. This is freedom, you think.
Take me, a hardened first year heading into their second semester; I didn’t know how proud I was of my Indian culture until I started to host a hip hop show on our student run radio station, SURG FM. The mass of pride around people of color at university has pushed me to a place where I am now comfortable with the fact that I’m what stereotypes call “curry scented”. This was an unexpected development.
University is the time to develop both your strengths and your weaknesses. It’s a time to explore yourself more than ever before — a time to enjoy the fact that we’re young, reckless and ready to learn.
You are allowed to change. In fact, you should.
Perhaps by the end of semester, you might even be an evolved, civilised human, after all.