We all make new years resolutions, or at least try to make one (and often, as is the case with me, fail at it within the first few weeks), but two years ago I set myself a resolution that I hoped would change my life forever.
Two years in the making and now I am here to tell you if I succeeded.
This time two years ago I was returning to Essex after the Christmas break. I was a first year literature student and was rather pleased that I had succeeded at reading all the texts on my course and had handed in my first essays on time, but I had one problem: nerves. Crippling nerves in fact and a huge amount of anxiety and fear of coming out of my comfort zone or engaging with new people or putting myself in unfamiliar situations.
You see, when I applied to the University of Essex I was so excited about the prospect of studying a subject that I loved and also all the things that university life could offer. You read in books, hear from friends and family and see on the T.V. a representation of what university life would be like and I was eager to experience it myself. However, the minute I unpacked my bags on arrivals day I built a defensive wall around me and failed to really interact with any of my flatmates and classmates.
My days consisted of going to classes, making the relevant comments and noises to get through them, then returning straight to my room in South Courts where I often remained for the rest of the day. As you can imagine it was extremely isolating, but I never knew how to start conversations with new people and always feared what people would think about me. The fear was so much that I become quite passive and distant, a shadow of who I used to be.
Over the Christmas break I had had serious doubts about my future at Essex and even at one point contemplated leaving university all together. Perhaps I wasn’t cut out for this malarkey. It was a difficult moment in my life, but I wanted to try to turn that around so that the rest of my time at university could be significantly more enjoyable.
I set myself a new years resolution to try and be more outgoing, to put myself into more social situations and to interact and get to know my classmates.
At first it was a struggle as most things often are, but now I am beginning to feel more like a member of the university community. I started to speak to people more, I tried to get involved more with various activities and, most importantly, I tried to make every opportunity count. I even became a Student Ambassador in order to try and boost my confidence and to meet more people. I soon learnt that my fear of being judged was misinformed, in fact most people were in the same position that I was.
Two years later I can say that I am more comfortable in social situations (though large groups or unfamiliar people can still unnerve me slightly). As a Student Ambassador people have often commented that I appear outgoing and very sociable, yet they are completely unaware of how timid and nervous I was at the beginning of my first year.
Now this isn’t meant to be a blog in which I reveal my personal growth in the hope that you all applaud and praise me. Instead I have written this blog to try and show that you can make the most of your time at university and that you can reinvent yourself. Most people set themselves a new years resolution often knowing that they won’t stick it, for me this attempt to try and be more confident and sociable was a necessity if I was to do well in the future.
In the space of two years I cannot say that I am the most confident of people, but I have come a long way and have made tons of memories throughout this momentous journey.