Finding Your Way
Being an introvert by nature, I anticipated feeling somewhat out of my depth when beginning university. Having started at a new sixth form just two years prior, I convinced myself that fighting-off the nerves was a familiar battle which I had mastered. However, stepping onto campus in 2017, I was struck by a more unfamiliar feeling. With the enormity of Old Joe towering over me, and surrounded by a cohort of some 200 others - I felt daunted.
Almost every 'what if' crossed my mind - What if I get lost?, What if I answer a question incorrectly in seminar?, What if I make an utter fool out of myself trying to strike up a conversation? At the time, I saw the only solution to be retreating further into myself and focussing wholly on my studies. Soon enough, my ‘what-if's' became displaced by 'should-have's'. My brain seemed locked in a constant state of self-questioning. To anyone who feels, has felt or will feel the same, I offer you the following advice:
- Just Do It: Out of all the motivational quotes in the world, Nike’s iconic slogan remains the one to live by. Initiate a conversation in lecture, speak up in seminar, sign up for a society taster-session. I’ve found university to be a place of no judgement. Whatever it is that takes a shining to you - go for it!
- Never Compare Yourself to Others: The aim at university should be to achieve your personal best. While I encourage learning from the attributes of those around you, holding up your academic achievements and social flair to that of others, will only ever lead you down a rabbit hole of self-doubt.
- Move at Your Own Pace: There’s a fine line between stepping out of your individual comfort zone and forcing yourself to take leaps that you’re not yet ready for. If applying for the internship at the city law firm terrifies you, perhaps it’s best to start with work experience at a regional firm.
- Talk to Your Personal Tutor: Although I can’t promise that your personal tutor will be your best friend, they will most certainly, be your best resource. Having witnessed the university journey of hundreds of students, they are your most reliable guide (and possibly your referee once you graduate)
- Have Faith: I will end on a cheesy (but no less true) note. The three/four years you spend at university will pass by unbelievably quickly. Everything will happen for a reason. and when the going gets tough, remember that you are even tougher.