When I first came to Cardiff Met, I decided that I was here to focus on my degree and nothing else. I didn’t think it was about making friends, going out socialising or joining societies – I was here for my degree, and nothing was going to get in the way of that. I know that this is the case for a lot of people and that’s okay. However, I soon found that for me, it made university life miserable.
My expectation and the reality of what university life was like couldn’t have been more far apart! I didn’t expect to have so much spare time during my first year. I didn’t expect to feel like I was missing out on so much. I was surprised to find how much it affected my happiness at university. I knew that I would have to change my perspective on what university life was about or I just wouldn’t enjoy it – and it’s a long time to not enjoy, right?!
I needed to change my approach to university – more importantly, I needed friends. I began to reach out to people in my seminars, open up more and I soon started to make those friends. I started to enjoy lectures and seminars, but I also looked forward to those breaks in between with my friends (which were often spent in Starbucks!) and it made me realise that my university experience wasn’t going to be solely focussing on my degree – and that that’s ok!
During the second term of my first year, I wanted to get a job for a little more income, so I applied to become a student ambassador for Cardiff Met. This is one of the best decisions I’ve made whilst at university! I didn’t realise quite how many other students I would meet through working open days, applicant days etc, and how many of them I’d actually become really good friends with! It’s great because you end up working with your friends, and the work becomes fun and really enjoyable. But I don’t just love being an ambassador because it helps me make new friends – it helped me come out of my shell in ways I never thought it would. My confidence has grown a huge amount and I feel comfortable talking to anyone now. It’s definitely something worth looking into at uni!
I used my second year to become more involved the in SU and what they had to offer, which again was another one of the best decisions I’ve made at uni. I had the opportunity to become a Lead Representative within my school (it’s fair to say I jumped at the chance!). This allowed me to meet so many new people as well as building better relationships with the teaching staff within the School of Management where I study. I really felt like I was part of a community both within my school and the Student Union. Throughout the year I became more engaged within university life, joined a society, made even more friends and really enjoyed my second year so much more than my first.
Towards the end of the year, the opportunity came for me to apply for the School Rep role within CSM and I wasn’t sure if I was right for this next level of role but my friends supported and encouraged me to apply. I was successful, and I’ve been loving the role ever since! I’m so excited for everything that’s to come during my third year (and secretly I never want to leave!).
If you have told me two years ago that I would be loving my university experience as much as I am now, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Everything takes time and it’s such a big change, so give yourself time to adjust and I’m sure you’ll love Cardiff Met just as much as I do!
Looking for more top tips for first year at uni? Check out our Freshers Guides.