My University of Liverpool experience.

university of liverpool blog

I remember moving into my room (F Block, Lady Mountford, Carnatic Halls) nearing three years ago pretty clearly: my light didn't work properly, the window had a wonky 'X' sprayed onto it, and the toilets smelt so strongly of bleach I couldn't help but wonder what they were trying to cover up. That night I went to a club so heavily promoted that I should've known it'd be awful, with people I could barely remember the names of, in a city I didn't know. And thus began Freshers: a week and a bit (I gave up towards the end) of learning the number of Delta taxis by heart, not to drink so much wine you can't make it out, and to go to the toilets in packs. This, I feel, is a pretty average university start.

Despite how much I go on about how much I adore it now, I never intended to go to Liverpool. I had my heart set on Sheffield, but a study leave of house parties and coffee shops resulted in grades worse than expected, and a few hours crying my way through clearing. That weekend I got a train up to visit the place I'd committed myself to, and hated it. This feeling persisted through the first year and a bit. The grim weather (it is colder up North), and constant niggling loneliness plagued me, and the January of first year nearly marked me dropping out. I'd had arguments with two of my closest friends over the Christmas holidays, felt like I didn't fit in with anyone else in my block (which I now realise was completely self-inflicted), became very introverted, and survived through visits from friends and going to see everyone's new hometowns. If I wasn't hosting or visiting, I was either wandering through the city centre on my own, or in my room. It got to the point where the only time I'd leave my room was for lectures, and it was rare I'd head to the canteen for dinner. The thought of Summer kept me going for the last month or so, knowing that I was going to see the Arctic Monkeys, my first ever blogger meet-up in Birmingham, Dublin, and just being in a place where I felt at home, and where people wanted me. I'd convinced myself that I didn't want to be there, and so I refused to like it.

I think it was the three months of people saying how much they loved university that made me go back. It can't have really been that bad, can it? This time round things genuinely were better. I got more involved with English society socials, Ellipsis (the university magazine), and made sure I booked train tickets home for reading week in advance, just in case. I undeniably felt lonely the majority of the time living in halls (again, this time Atlantic Point) where half the people I "lived with" were absent or just not the kind of people I felt comfortable with (sorry, third year sports scientists are not my type) and had my fair amount of emotional crises, normally over a hot chocolate. During term time, most of my home friends who were also at university didn't acknowledge their other life, and those who didn't go to university at all just thought I was in a constant hangover, and told me it'd be better tomorrow. It wasn't. I spent a lot of weekends in London visiting my friend Sabby which soon turned into my secret lifeline; seeing someone love university life so much made me push myself that little bit more, I looked at Liverpool in a different light, and slowly began to notice its beauty. It was around this time I fell in love with the city, and from that point on I knew I couldn't leave, even if I were lonely all of the time. I'd secured a few internships for the summer, I was doing well on my course, and I'd actually started to make friends. Things, basically, had started to look up.

Summer was a haze of early morning walks to the station followed by late nights keeping up with my friends' social lives in various Essex nightclubs. It was a kind of complacency of not-quite-adult-ness that I was happy with, but at the end I made a few mistakes and actually found myself wanting to return to the North to try and escape the intricacies of the South's social politics. Things felt so much more comfortable this time around, and I honestly put it down to both living in my own flat rather than halls (I think Liv and Jaz can vouch for how homely it is!) and feeling like you'd be missed if you weren't there. Simple things like being in the same seminar group as some of the people I'd made friends with made a massive difference, and it meant I didn't end up spending half of my time in Essex. I went through a bit of a down phase (understatement) during December and January as a result of feeling like I'd lost all my friends at home, leaving the vast majority of my dissertation work till the last week (don't do it, kids, it's not worth the gaunt look you get from the average two hours sleep a night) and general hatin' life attitude I appear to have developed and can't get rid of. But throwing myself into Cuthbert's and Heebie's has certainly helped to cheer me up recently, and, despite a few things that have really upset me over the past couple of months, I've been able to cope and not fall into dark thoughts every day with the reassurance of having people living a ten minute walk away. With my final deadline hitting last Tuesday, the time since hand-in has been a cocktail (literally) of tequila, wronged body-clocks, and getting quite emotional at Miles Kane gigs. I'll be back in Essex by this time next week, but it's Real Life and not Summer that I'm returning to, things will have to get serious pretty soon.

What I'm really trying to put across here is that university is not what you see through your facebook timeline. I can assure you that, despite what I've written above, my profile during first and second year was a continual stream of photos of me holding bottles of tesco value vodka with a deceptive grin, events I've attended (emergency services theme? Really?), and all the new friends I've added. For me, university was something I had to do: I know I'm not thick, I genuinely enjoy education, and, on a less "go me" note, my school expected me to (that's grammars for you, eh?). When I say that university was the best three years of my life I don't necessarily mean that it was easy and I was smiling the whole way through it, but that it's made me so much more aware that life is something you have to be prepared to work for, rather than something you can cruise through. That genuinely sounds like the most cliché bull that google can offer, but I really would not have had the experiences and the memories created were it not for the perseverance and conscientious effort to make the most of it. This is not to belittle anyone that does not go to university, it's not for everyone and I know a lot of people who have achieved so much without having a couple of letters after their name, but for me this was the best thing that could ever have happened. I've lived in one of the most amazing cities in the world for three years, and my only regret is not realising this earlier. Hopefully I'll be able to live here in the future, but for now I'm just going to make the most of the week I have left and cry a lot when I wave goodbye to the Liver building.

If I ever had a real chance to travel in a time machine where would I go?

Probably wouldn't want to see the past, 'cause all the memories are enough.


university of liverpool experience

30 comments:

  1. I really appreciate this post, it's refreshing to hear someone think back over their uni experience. I can understand how sometime you just wanted to leave, but well done to you for sticking it out! I love your blog as a whole too :)

    http://www.ragsoflove.com/

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  2. I really struggled with parts of uni, the constant pressure to have fun and for it to be the best few years of your life really took its toll! I love how much you love Liverpool, I definitely need to visit...

    Maria xxx

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  3. I really love this post. Super loads.
    I found myself in this situation as soon as I was in sixth form, no friends, no life and to be honest I spent the first two years of uni feeling pretty isolated. I will leave Uni with only a scattering of 'real' friends, but they are worth the time and effort. When I felt most lonely and isolated I started my blog and honestly I haven't looked back since, it has put me in contact with so many, to use the cliché, 'like minded people'.
    I'm happy that you managed to stick it out, the only way is up I keep being told! Lisette Loves xx

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  4. I'm so glad you managed to enjoy it in the end :) Liverpool really is a lovely city, there's so much to see xx

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  5. Brilliant post. Thank you for writing this up, this time next year I'll be packing my bags and heading off for uni. Still deciding where to apply though! xx

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  6. This is an awesome post. So much truth in it, and really puts out there some of the issues. I had a similar experience to you, except in reverse, I enjoyed my first year, I worked hard and played hard, but 4 years later, I was only sad to say goodbye to 2 people and I'd spent most of the year feeling low, ill, and being bullied. Doing a Graduate Diploma was the experience I needed, at a new uni, in different circumstances and finally gave me a start to finish more positive experience. However difficult my undergrad was though, I'm glad I did it, I needed to, and getting through it proved I had balls of steel and the will to get things done that I knew deep down I needed to. I hope you feel super proud when you graduate, you earned it.

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  7. Thank you for this post! I like reading people's perspectives on university that aren't just 'oh yeah it's great and you get to drink so much!' etc. I'm off to uni this year and I'm not sure if I want to leave my hometown, but it will all depend on grades really.

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  8. I really loved this post. I'm about to go into my 3rd year of university, and I agree when you said, that University is the best three years of your life, but not because everything is fine and dandy but more because you grow so much in that time. I've personally had a 'meh' time at uni, but I'm glad I went because I enjoy my course and because it has taught me so much about myself :)

    IN MY SUNDAY BEST

    XOXO Sade

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  9. this is so perfect! so, so perfect. you just put what everyone feels into a post. thank you so much for writing this-its so important for people that they are not alone in feeling like this xx

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  10. this was so refreshingly honest to read. I felt like the only one would didn't really like uni that much at first.. in fact to be perfectly honest the whole experience really wasn't as amazing or life changing as I thought it would be.. apart from meeting my boyfriend and having a great year abroad I don't have that many awesome memories from it. I guess it made me grow as a person and all that.. but it definitely didn't live up to expectations! I had similar feelings of ending up in halls with people who weren't really me or didn't get me, but some of my misery was probably self-inflicted too! x

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  11. I have just read all of this followed by all of the posts about our first Brummie meet, it feels like such a long time ago! Loved this blog Rebecca, I could almost hear you reading it out, and I was nodding along to so much of what you said. Uni for me was the other way around, it was fantastic, then completely dismal, so in many ways I couldn't wait to leave. I had that same turmoil of missing friends and certainly not feeling like I fitted in (the first guy I spoke to on my course didn't know what a croissant was) pretty much the whole time. Uni is so tough isn't it, but I hope you're proud of yourself for getting through because at those low points it would have been so easy to sack it off and get out of there mate. Kudos to you mrs! xxxxxxxxxxxx <3 Claire @ Jazzpad

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  12. this is a beautifully written post. I'm sorry that the beginning of university was hard on you but I'm very glad that you decided to look at everything in a new light. I love how you said "life is something you have to be prepared to work for, rather than something you can cruise through", because it's so easy to just get by at school and party the rest of the time. I just finished my first year at college, and I've seen a lot of people just trying to get by so they could have a college diploma. It's very sad to see people like that.

    you have a beautiful blog... well I'm just basing that off two posts I saw here, which was this post and the outfit post before this. but from what I've seen, you write very well and you dress nice and you're very pretty so... WHY CAN'T I SAY THAT YOU HAVE A BEAUTIFUL BLOG? haha

    if you've got the time, please pass by my blog:
    snippitydoodah.blogspot.com

    it's new so it hasn't got much yet, but I'll get there I suppose
    -Andrea

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  13. This was really refreshing to read! I'm (hopefully) going to university in September, and I'm exciting and terrified all at once! It's nice to read a true perspective as it is so easy to be mislead by the pictures you see. I'm trying my best not to have unrealistic expectations, but I really want to meet new people and make new friends and have a fresh start.

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  15. This was really refreshing to read! I'm graduating from Liverpool this month too (I swapped from your course so I believe we have a few mutual friends, though I happened upon your blog randomly). My experience at Liverpool was far from rosy too, though I wouldn't change any of it as I think it has made me a better person as awful as that sounds- a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor etc. I might pen some of my own thoughts on the matter at some point. Good luck with your results later today and thanks for a great post xx

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  16. I really appreciate this post. I'm currently in my first year in Liverpool and not been finding it the easiest of times. Of course, it's been so much fun with all the partying but also a lot of pressure to be social a lot of the time then fit work in as well, and I know exactly what you mean by the 'constant stream of photos on facebook' and 'new friends on facebook'..it doesn't reflect at all how things are really going for people. To top that off I have to be moved out my accomodation (Dale, which is being knocked down) to Rankin instead...it's like going back to square one!

    I just hope I'm making the right decision in staying on at uni. I'm really starting to love part of my course but not all of it and it's also the fees that I worry about sometimes too. I'll always go back to this post when i'm having a tough time at uni as it reassures me that uni isn't perfect all the time so thank you! xxx

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  17. I enjoyed reading these very honest and heartfelt views about your time at the University of Liverpool. I was in the same position (albeit over 25 years ago), and at the start I really would have liked to have studied a different subject (not Science) in a different university. However over time I really began to enjoy the developing friendships with other students, particularly in my halls of residence (Rankin), the nightlife (mainly pubs around the Hope Street area, and friends' parties). I joined a few student societies and got a lot of exercise running round Sefton Park perimeter. Over time I realised that the city has many beautiful buildings and a distinctive and interesting culture and history. I loved talking to people on other courses about their experiences, looking at the river, and looking round the campus.
    I am glad that I stayed at the university, and in halls, for 3 years, and look back very fondly on my time in the city. After graduation I stayed on for a while but moved into a different sphere and a new city after a few years. I've subsequently studied other subjects, but it's never the same as when you study full time and live in halls with other students.
    My only regrets are that I didn't take more photos of my friends, ask out more of the girls I fancied, and considered doing a year abroad at another university, and maybe stayed on to do an MSc in a different place to see what that would have been like.

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Hello, I'm Rebecca: social media exec, new-ish coffee drinker and loafer-wearer.
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