Written by Megan Lowes
Edited by Charlotte Crouch
Since becoming a first-year student there’s a few phrases I come to hear a lot, and one of them is the favourite “it’s only first year”. Even I use this phrase when I’ve come to the point of giving up on an assignment or realising I’m just staring at my revision notes and nothing is actually going in. I’m saying this to reassure myself that if I fail, it’s ok because it doesn’t count.
As first year students, we are of course informed that first year is nothing to stress about. But in reality, the stress that can radiate throughout student halls when assignments and exams are looming is just as high and important as you second and third years. And it’s becoming to frustrate me that if I want to vent about my struggles with deadlines to my other friends who are in second year that sometimes my stress can be ignored and not understood and actually laughed off as “It’s first year! Start complaining when you’re in second year hun”.
Of course, we can understand that in reality yes, our grades will not equal to our degree, but this shouldn’t mean our stress, our worries and our occasional break downs should be discredited as not important. Most first year students have stated higher education straight from sixth form, (where they’ve been almost spoon fed answers to ensure everyone in the class gets the grades the school needs in order to look good). Or there are the students who took a year out (like myself) either travelling or working to save money (I am the latter). Meaning being able to write an essay is difficult because it hasn’t been done in a while, or people straight from sixth form are used to their schools teaching of writing and then we get to university and our lecturers are the most laid back creatures ever.
So, our stress comes from the fact that we don’t have a clue what the f**k we should be doing. We are left to our devices within essay writing and exam prep for the first time in our school careers so if we all want to run around as exploding little stress balls we should be able to without judgement that we shouldn’t be.
Obviously, there’s a lot of things about university life that are hard and should be addressed more but never are (that’s for a different article) but one that we as students can address and change ourselves is this stigma, so let’s do that please.