I’d like to dedicate this post to Murray, who walked past reading on his way home from work just as I was starting this post. He looked up from his novel towards my house, but I don’t know if he saw me looking back. Hi Murray, and thanks Mum, for pointing out that Murray was walking past.
I always have a strange feeling when there’s something big coming up. It’s how I felt before I traveled around France, and how I often felt during the last few days of the summer holidays. It’s how I feel right now, too.
I’m moving to university this Saturday, the 18th of September. This is my last Sunday at home before I move to university, but to be honest I wish it wasn’t. I want my move to St Andrews to remain a safe month or so away. That’d be close enough that living the amazing life of student will feel near, but I will still be able to do what I want ?and there’ll nothing urgent that needs doing. Not yet.
It’s not because I think it’s going to be shit. In fact, I tell myself that I’m going to love it, that I’ll have a great time, and I think I believe it. I’m going to a place that I like studying a subject that really interests me. I look at my friends who didn’t take a gap year and went straight to university – particularly Ruairidh and his flatmates – and I see that they love being university students. I joined them overnight in Glasgow a few times and they were some of the highlights of my gap year. They’re counting down the days until they return to Glasgow, that’s how much they enjoy being at university.
Why, then, am I still apprehensive? There’s a couple of small points that I can think of:
- I will know absolutely no one at the university when I begin. Even though St Andrews’ university is the second closest to Perth after Dundee, no one from my school year group nor from my brother’s ((Who was in the year below me at school.)) from Perth Academy has decided to study at St Andrews University. That’s weird. It could be because they’re not clever enough to get in, but hardly anyone even applied so that’s hard to know. Or it could be that they think St Andrews is too posh – maybe that’s why they all went to Glasgow.
- Ruairidh, on the other hand, was already good friends with two of his 5 flatmates at Strathclyde. That’s nice.
- FYI, I think St Andrews University is a good university in a nice place and a decent location. That’s why I chose it.
- I’ve still got loads of things to do before I can start university, much of which I’m not sure how to do ((The worst type of task is one which is poorly defined or which you don’t know how to complete. More on that another time.)). Before I go, I need to do online matriculation, I have to provisionally pick my modules for my first year, I need to upload a photo for my student ID card, and there are plenty of other forms to fill out. Once at St Andrews, there’ll be plenty more to do – matriculation, meeting my adviser of studies, and sorting out funding. There are also plenty of other things I need to do whilst I’m still at home. Also: I have to pack.
- I know it sounds like I’m moaning, but don’t take it like that. I just can’t get excited about something when there’s this much stuff that I have to do before it becomes a reality. And yes, I know everyone else has to do all this too.
- I’ve been out of education or full-time anything for well over a year now. Will I be able to cope with everything? Not only will the work be much harder than at school (much of which I have probably forgotten), but I’ll have to look after myself too now.
On the whole, they’re only slight distractions from my enjoyment – and knowing no one might even be a good thing. I’ll probably make more friends that way.
I think the main reason is that I’ll be leaving my comfort zone. It’s an annoying term but I think it captures the idea well.? It’s difficult for me to be excited about moving to university when I’m so comfortable at home with my family. Why would I want to leave somewhere like that? Some people might find Perth boring, but for me it’s just fine: pretty, decent weather, and lots of places to walk. People assume I’ve been bored on my gap year, but I’ve loved it. ?I never get bored at home whereas my friends are so bored at home over the summer break that they can’t wait to go back to university. Had I won the lottery during my gap year and had enough money to sustain me for life, perhaps I would have stayed living here for ever. You know, I wouldn’t do that, but if I did I think I’d be happy doing it.
Maybe that’s sad. When you hear about someone reluctant to leave their comfort zone, you think of some pathetic person lacking in confidence and self-esteem. But I don’t think that describes me; indeed I think the majority of people prefer to stay in their comfort zone. And it’s not a major problem: ?my reluctance isn’t stopping me from moving to university, it’s only stopping me from getting excited about it.? That means I’ll get a nice reward of satisfaction when, some time after moving to university, I come to realise just how cool it really is. Unless it isn’t. But it will be. Right? Until that point, however, this feeling sucks.
P.S. Before I leave with you too gloomy an impression, there are certain points I’m very much looking forward to:
- Having my own room again.
- Living right next to a beach and on the coast in general.
- Living near an RAF airbase.
- Hardcore learning and facing challenges.
- Making friends.
P.P.S. I’m interested to see what my feelings are at this point next year.
I felt exactly the same way before I moved out last September, especially about your last point about living at home being comfortable.
I’m looking forward to our superhappyfuntimes tomorrow night x
I’m an old man now, but I remember being in your situation 6 years ago. I was looking forward to uni, but none of my group of friends was going to Strathclyde. For some reason, nearly everybody I knew was going to live in Edinburgh. To be honest, I wasn’t worried about it, but when I moved into my halls, and my flatmates went out and got slaughtered the first night and I sat in alone and watched something on TV, I realised I was lonely and sad.
However, I had met one guy at Strathclyde during the previous summer on an SU holiday, so I e-mailed him, and he got me into the Christian Union, which gave me people who liked doing things that didn’t involve getting slaughtered. Also, when classes finally started I made friends there too.
Obviously you’re not a Christian, but my advice would be during Fresher’s Week to go to a club’s fair, I’m sure St. Andrews will have one, and pick something you’re interested in and join it. It won’t be too long until you’re making friends again.
You’re right though, you will love being at uni. Eventually. After the culture shock wears off.