I thought I’d take this moment to pen a tale of feeling inadequate, too shy and not good enough for University, just as a new intake – and possibly plenty of you – are headed to new hallowed halls somewhere. Let’s start with an ice-breaker: I’m Michelle and I am by nature shyer than shy. I’m a deft wallflower and very happy with that fact. I loved to write. I couldn’t cook. I couldn’t talk to more than 2 people at any one time. I’d email people in the same classroom as me instead of go over to ask them a simple question. And 5 years ago today I threw a leaving ‘gathering’ in my back garden for 5 close friends and I to mark leaving for University, a hundred miles away from home. Unbeknownst to them and about 95% of the people I knew, I was absolutely terrified about it all.
As a seasoned graduate, I can hand on heart let you know that you’re not too shy for University. You’re not. The experience of starting at a new school and moving away to a new town is 97.5% new for everyone else you meet on that infamous Moving In Weekend. Take things one step at a time. Move your things into your matchstick box sized room and unpack slowly. Savour making your room your own because this will probably be your safe haven during any downtime.
The first week of Uni is commonly referred to as Freshers Week. It’s pretty much a week where you induct into the semester, have events every night and generally make the most of your newfound freedom. If I’m honest, I found Freshers Week super intimidating and out of my comfort zone. But you learn to adapt and make the most of the situation. My fear of not-having-friends outweighed that of going to a huge party with hundreds of people who had never met each other. Like I said, everyone else is pretty much in the same boat as you. Equally though, don’t be someone you’re not; make friends in the same way you would elsewhere. Break the ice and compliment someone on their shoes/bag/brows or (if you’re not already tipsy) ask which halls they’re staying in. Ask questions and give semi-lengthy answers.
Being shy at University is 100% fine. I began my degree as a naive, sheltered and very introverted individual, then decided to start a blog, which – 2 years later – led to me hanging at the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards because I’d been shortlisted for Best Fashion Blog, not to mention getting to go to London Fashion Week in my first year of Uni for my blog. University is a whole other world. Small and sharp decisions could lead to the biggest things. I’d be nowhere if I didn’t pester Toni to walk with me to our first lecture. (We were across-the-hall flatmates.) Or if I didn’t sit down and finally set up my blog. Sometimes it’s those small, unmediated choices that take you to where you’re supposed to be.