Pizzas, partying and even the occasional lecture....former Marling School student Will Towler recalls his first year at university
With A-level results out today, Thursday, thoughts will go towards university for many students for either this year or next. Former Marling School student Will Towler, who has just finished his first year at the University of Leicester, shares his experience and gives a few tips to this year’s freshers.
MY name is Will Towler and I have just finished my first year at the University of Leicester studying a degree in English literature and I’m keen to share my experiences with students due to start this autumn.
Here is my account on the frenzied blur of seminars, sleep and garlic bread which made up my first year.
Arriving in halls on the first day is a unique feeling. The tangible nervous excitement which everybody fights to hide wafts along the hallways, through doorways and into respective rooms which we would call home for the next seven months.
My initial reaction to my room was one of slight concern but once the posters were up and the rug was out, the cracks in the wall and the stains in the carpet didn’t seem that bad and were instantly forgotten.
Unpacking the car (or cars if you are one of those people) is a fun experience. What you thought was fun and quirky and `would remind you of home’ instantly becomes lame and unnecessary.
The run from the car to the sanctity of your room becomes one of grave importance for retaining any dignity and the prospect of carrying Mr Cuddles into your room with eyes from all sides leering greedily, glad to have gleaned a snippet of your life for themselves, becomes a serious covert operation.
I lived in ‘off campus’ accommodation called Mary Gee houses in Leicester and the accommodation was all in terraced blocks, alphabetised to make things easier for the students who were scared of numbers like me.
Every block had its own kitchen, two bathrooms and 10 rooms. Mine was called Block P or Block P.arty as we renamed it and the first week (Freshers week) was a lot of fun not just because of the late ‘social’ events spent consuming beverages of the alcoholic variety but also because of the independence suddenly gained.
Don’t get me wrong, when I realised I was in charge of putting food in my own mouth a momentary flash of panic passed through me but with the expert teaching from Mrs Colley (food nutrition teacher at Marling thank you miss!) fresh in my memory, the training kicked in.
The result was as I managed to not burn a pizza for the first evening meal so as you could imagine I was pretty happy with that outcome.
One thing I did get out of bed for during that first week is the freshers fair.The freshers fair is where you will have the chance to sign up to as many societies as you would like.
There will be some societies that you expect and some that you don’t.It’s a great way of meeting new people that share a common interest as well as trying your hand at things you wouldn’t have necessarily thought about doing.
Even if you find absolutely nothing that suits your fancy it’s an ideal time to walk around and get a feel for the university and a chance to hang out and bond with your new accommodation friends too.Failing that, they usually give out loads of free stuff so you can walk home with the biggest collection of pens, mouse mats and key rings known to man.
I was well into the second week when I realised food doesn’t magically appear in the fridge and so I decided one late afternoon after waking up to venture out for my first weekly shop.
The weekly shop was always an interesting expedition.My nearest shop was Asda which was about a 20 minute walk away and there seemed to be a few things that always made it onto the shopping list namely cereal, pasta and garlic bread.
Garlic bread become something of an icon over the months as it was heaven for a student, ridiculously cheap and ridiculously good.
The freezer would consist of a few sausages left over from last year, an ice pack and about 20 packs of garlic bread to have dusk till dawn for anybody who resided in Block P.It was and still is, a brilliant food and one that shall live long in the memory as well as, I imagine the gut.
After freshers week (some universities have freshers fortnight so good luck to you guys) you will settle into a diet of lectures, seminars, sleep, pasta, You Tube video marathons, late night cereal, sleep with a few variations such as the occasional sporting activity and if you can muster up the energy, as well as the funds, a night out.
The weeks will go past very quickly and for me it was already Christmas before I realised I should probably open a book!Nonetheless, I learnt a huge amount in my first semester, the standard of teaching was incredibly high and the course was full of interesting modules that spanned fascinating eras of English literature.
My work was marked extremely critically and made you think hard in order to improve it but demonstrated if you get the balance right between having a laugh with your friends as well as doing the occasional bit of hard work, university is a hugely rewarding place to be a part of not juts academically but also socially.
My first year at university was a very exciting one filled with new challenges, new faces and new beginnings.
The fact that you are an independent learner, studying the subject of your choice in hopefully the university of your preference should mean that you enjoy university life as much as I did.
It is a big change but a thoroughly enjoyable one that I would recommend to those of you who are unsure on your futures to consider.
If you want to enjoy being younger a little while longer and have a soft spot for garlic-based breads, then university should be a blast.