Journal: The week before university

by Maria Clark

My name is Maria Clark and I am an English Literature and Creative Writing student. I’ve written this journal to demonstrate my anxieties and concerns in the week leading up to university, before my actual experience of Welcome Week itself. I think it’s important to realise that everyone feels the same way and that it is perfectly natural to feel nervous, as well as excited.

Wednesday 25th September - 10:23

The worst thing about going to uni is the anticipation. I just received an email, counting down the days until I move in (5), but the wait has been going on for months. We’ve all been waiting, I suppose, since A levels ended, and some of us for even longer than that.

Everyone else has gone. All my friends have had their freshers’ weeks and are settling down into lectures, whilst I’m still at home, waiting. Just waiting.

The thing about waiting is that it makes everything so much worse. The more time I have to sit and think about uni, the scarier it seems. Meeting all those new people? Moving halfway across the country? It isn’t going to be easy, that’s for sure, but I can only hope that my worries have been exaggerated by my time at home.

I move in on Sunday. I think I’m still in denial about going – I know I’m going, and I’m excited, but I think once I go to the station and say goodbye to the dogs that it will become real. Everything is packed (I have so much stuff!) and it’s weird to think that the next time I’ll wear certain clothes and use certain things, it will be in my bedroom at Lancaster.

This is a big change for everyone, and it is completely natural to feel a combination of nerves and excitement. But everyone is in the same boat, and all the other freshers on the Facebook chats are all saying the same things. Last night on the Cartmel group chat, everyone started sending pictures of their dogs, and it was lovely to see – we’ll all miss them very much, but at least we know that we’re not alone!

Thursday 26th September - 12:04

Last day at home today. It still feels very strange to see all my stuff packed up, ready to go. I said goodbye to my best friend last night, which was very emotional – but Christmas isn’t too far away. Watching Mamma Mia probably wasn’t the best idea – now I want sunny Greek summers rather than rainy British winters!

I’m getting excited now. There’s a lot to be excited about. I’m looking forward to decorating my room and meeting my flatmates; seeing the campus again, but this time, as a student. I’m looking forward to being more independent – cooking (though that is unlikely to last!), cleaning, budgeting. I absolutely can’t wait to join all the societies!

There’s still a lot of stuff I’m not sure about, but I’ve received all the information I need for my moving-in day and registration. As for Welcome Week…there are so many events that it is difficult to pick which ones I want to go to! Though each college hosts its own events, I’ve been told that you can attend different colleges’ events (with some exceptions), which is a great way to meet new friends. Am I nervous about meeting new people? A little. But since I moved schools for sixth form, I’ve done it before and everyone is going to be nervous and unsure what to say. Just talk about where they come from, what they’re studying, and try to find commonalities. Who knows, a stranger may become a close friend!

Friday 25 September - 14:20

On the train up to Lancaster. Not the first time I’ve made this journey, but this time it feels different. I hated saying goodbye to the dogs this morning (yes, I totally cried) but now I’ve got a grip and am enjoying the scenic views from our carriage. It’s the ‘quiet’ carriage, and it will probably be the last silence that I hear for a while! Even though my college is known for being quite quiet, placing 18 and 19-year olds in close quarters will inevitably lead to noise and parties.

Though I was emotional when I left the house, I’m feeling okay now, and looking forward to showing my family around Lancaster and the campus. It will be just as hard for them as it will be for me!

a black dog
Trying to get the dogs to sit for a final photo was difficult!