That first semester was a constant struggle to fit in and adjust to after what felt like being thrown into the deep end. It was both exciting and terrifying at the same time- but I think that was the best part. I was introduced to new found subjects and began to miss my old ones, I really missed English. I began realising more and more what I was actually studying, beginning with all the “boring stuff” theoretical stuff and getting to grips with the practical elements of my course. However, expecting to enjoy it more than I was led to doubt beginning to seep in.
It was true what I had heard- I met people from all walks of life, both sane and “in” and forget about lectures and homework, making friends, I think, was every freshman’s prerogative. I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but in between the first semester whirlwind, our little group of three shrunk to a smaller group of two, and Zoe and I realised it was the two of us. We didn’t take notice of it at first, why would we? I certainly didn’t see any reason to worry as I didn’t even question the possibility of not making more friends. Day in, day out, Zoe and I would attempt to approach people in lectures, making the usual small talk, but everyone seemed to belong to a group or a clique, and didn’t want to include us in theirs.
Maybe it was because we were different to the rest. One of those differences being our growing uncertainty about our course of study. Whilst everyone else loved what they were studying and were so interested and invested, as the weeks went by, I found it just as tedious as the start and quite frankly, boring. It wasn’t so bad though, we had each other to vent to after each tedious lecture and share our worries and joke about how we would make it through (never mind the year but) the semester or even manage to complete a single assignment.
We were completely on our own, and I’m not just talking about friend- wise, no, the lecturers too didn’t just want nothing to do with Zoe and I, but everyone. It was during one of my first proper lectures that we were told not to “bother” one of our lecturers with any emails and that he didn’t want to hear about our problems- super helpful when it came to completing his assignments. All through the first semester I had to endure not only his unfriendly moments but his often sexist, homophobic and racist comments. He couldn’t understand why women would study politics, and frequently made offensive comments about Germans, Americans and Japanese- all of which nationalities were present in the room.
It was a huge adjustment and I was still trying to find my footing. I felt lost but everyone did a little at that stage. I certainly wasn’t alone in that feeling, although it was easy to, seeing everyone else making friends so easily and seemingly fitting right in and loving their course. It wasn’t going how I had imagined it- but does anything ever? I kept thinking -“it could be a lot worse”. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to even attend a college, I had made a friend, and it was only the beginning. So things could only get better from here… Right?
Wrong. Very wrong.