First Year Experience
Drama and Theatre University Experience
My first year at University has just finished. I study Drama and Theatre at the University of Lincoln and I have loved every second of it. It has not been a breeze and there have been moments when I have thought about packing my bags and heading home but now that I've stuck it out, I honestly can say that I am so happy.
During my first couple of months I had two main struggles; neither of which actually relating to my degree but still big challenges I had to overcome. One was my health. I had really bad health in the first couple of months. It started literally days after being left in a strange city. I didn't know any of my roommates. I didn't know the number to make a doctor's appointment. I didn't even know how to get all my shopping back to the flat without losing an arm. And it took them forever to find out what was wrong with me. So I was juggling classes, extra rehearsals, student film, work, and one doctor appointment after another. Talk about stressful! They finally diagnosed me with an allergy and now thankfully I am fine but dealing with that while dealing with the normal troubles of moving away from home for the first time was terrible and I wish it on no-one but if any of you do find yourself in this kind of position, hold on because once you find out what is wrong, you might regret having gone home. Obviously, not all problems are the same as mine but make sure you talk about it with your friends, family, and teachers.
My second problem was financial issues. I know that this is probably something that a lot of people go through but for me I was shocked and annoyed. I am good at sticking to a budget so I thought that sorting about money was not going to be an issue. However, student finance screwed me over. I didn't even get enough to cover rent and my parents are not in a position themselves to support me. I had never had a job before. My parents wanted me to concentrate on college, something I readily agreed to back then but regretted when I got here. I had no experience outside of theatre except working front of house at a theatre and that doesn't help you get a job at McDonalds. Luckily I managed to get a job working on commission and I had to take every shift available as well as join every survey site I could find to scrape by. By that I mean, I only bought £1 ready meals, cereal and contributed £3 a week for flat purchases like bread and milk. That was it. No chocolate, no snacks no alcohol. I barely went out as I was always working and when I did, it was only to free events and I would be the only one sober. It was nerve-racking but if I'm honest, I am really proud of myself. It was probably the worst job in the world and I counted every penny I spent but I really appreciate what I earn now. The money I had depended on how much I sold. Some days I would work 3 hours and come out with £50 and another I would come out with £4. I have even made a loss and give money out of my own pocket before which is obviously the worse scenario. I am really looking forward to be able to save money for myself this year while also treating myself every once in a while. I can' believe I am going to say this but I actually want to start making homemade dinners, that's how tired I am of ready meals. I will continue to work whether it's the same job or I manage to finally get a more stable job but I want to relax a little this year. If you end up in the same situation, don't worry. You'll find a way. If I did with no experience and no knowledge then you can too. And if you find yourself with a bit of money to go around, don't watch every penny but it's my advice to put a bit aside for an emergency.
If you're heading off to University, know that it really is the best experience even with its bad points. I've made friends that made me realize how much I was just putting up with from others, had experiences that I could not have had anywhere else and learnt things about myself that no class could teach me, and I'm studying drama in which understanding who you are helps you to be someone else. Live every moment, laugh every laugh. Enjoy it, because it really does go fast.