A Fresh Start

(Published in my student newspaper, Flex, for their Freshers edition on Page 45.)

GCSE’s were easy; at the time we didn’t think there could be anything harder. But, in some way, it has all helped us get to where we are now. A-Levels are over. Gap years have finished. Now we find ourselves at University College Falmouth, beginning a new journey and taking on a course we hope to build our futures upon.

A fresh start and, for most, a new home miles away from the towns we grew up in. So why Falmouth? Falmouth is a beautiful town to live and study in, and its high population of students makes the environment even more welcoming. It’s often been described as a place of escape; a tranquil atmosphere and a place of influence that most don’t want to leave behind.

“It’s a great place to start your life. UCF offered the best facilities for my course and the campus is set in such a nice environment to work in,” said Scott Pearson, 20, Level 2 Graphic Design student at UCF. “What more could you want?”

The university itself provides a lot to gain through the many experiences and opportunities that it has to offer. BBC standard studios and equipment for all needs; you’ll learn more than you ever intended. It’s not surprising that UCF has gained some well-deserved recognition over the years (new buildings have been built and there’s still not enough room for everybody!).

But this we all know. As I begin my second year at university, I’ve realised how useful it would have been for someone to of told me the things I’m still coming to consequent with even now. Catching up with work and scrounging money off my mum; two major things I wish I had prepared better for over my first year.

Whether you have an exam every week or only a short essay every term, one of the first things you will learn is that any amount of work load can easily catch up with you. A week deadline or a month, there is no doubt it will be left until last-minute. Preparation not only means that you are not rushing to complete everything by the end of the term, but also that you can make sure it is to your best ability.

In relation to work, you need to make the most of the things thrown your way. Writing for the university newspaper, having an hour slot on Wave FM, entering your work in a student competition – it all adds up and looks great on your CV. These opportunities need to be taken for granted. It’s all good practice.

Money is also one of the biggest worries in university life. I’ve spent the summer doing any work thrown my way to earn a bit of cash all for the promise of a nice cup of tea at the end of the day (although I did also get to spend it lying on Gylly beach!). As boring as it sounds, a budget is a handy thing to keep, and to save enough of the summer is something you won’t think about now, but something that you will be wishing you did when you’re living off super noodles for 3 months. Freshers week is a chance to splash out, fancy outfits and a line of shots, but when you fall into minus digits in your bank account, you wonder where it all went.

We’re all here to have a good time; to get drunk most nights of the week and hand in essays minutes before the deadline. But I’ve had friends who failed the first year and even more that came close to it. The reason for being here in the first place must not be forgotten.

My parents have always said, “University is the best time of your life. The people you meet will be your friends forever.” And that’s something we must keep in mind. We need to make the most of this of this opportunity, but we need to be able to do that without any worry at the same time.

Be prepared, be organised, and remember to gain some knowledge at the same time as those lifelong memories, because time seriously does fly by.

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