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Nine observations from first year students after one semester at Glasgow Uni

From Sports Wednesdays to submitting the first assignment, semester one was a wild ride


Uni is a massive adjustment and every uni is different.

We are two mechanical engineering first year students trying to navigate our way through balancing work for our degree, the newfound struggles of adult life, AND maintaining a healthy and fun social life. Elise, from Inverness, is a weightlifter, whilst Edie loves music, both playing and listening, and is from Dumfries and Galloway.

Here are nine observations of Glasgow Uni after one semester here.

1. Halls are not that crazy

QM cat in the communal condom bowl

Despite the horror stories, the halls of residence drinking culture is not that bad. Maybe sometimes your upstairs neighbours might decide to host afters on a random Tuesday, but it’s not a 24 hour party like you were warned (yes, even Murano has its quiet nights, trust us).

Halls are made for dinner dates and study sessions too, you have to take advantage of the fact that your friends are just a minute away, and when you get past the blue paint, your flat can become your own homely sanctuary, and not somewhere you have to dread going back to after a long day at uni.

2. Everyone knows everyone

Murano flat parties make up for the mould

Although uni is so much bigger than school, it is surprising how connected everyone can become in the space of a few months. Between halls, your course, nights out, sports clubs and societies, it’s not uncommon to meet someone at a flat party who just so happens to know your course mate or be on your flatmate’s netball team.

The uni is its own little world; your friends are just around the corner… but so is your one-night stand from Freshers’ Week (note to self: You will not find your future husband in HIVE in week one).

3. University can be lonely

Admiring the main building after your late night study sesh

Although you’re always surrounded by people, uni can still get lonely. It’s not always going to be coffee dates and nights out with your friends, there are going to be those lonely, late-night library sessions and Lidl trips.

Although you’re always surrounded by people, uni can still get lonely. It’s not always going to be coffee dates and nights out with your friends, there are going to be those lonely, late-night library sessions and Lidl trips.

Most people at university are living alone for the first time, and whether you’re 17 or 27, the simple fact of the matter is that adulting sucks sometimes. Managing money, cooking, cleaning and just trying to survive, whilst also being expected to stay on top of your degree, make friends and keep your mental health intact is no easy feat.

Scheduling your food shop is sometimes more painful than the queue for Circuit Laundry (spending hours waiting for your washing for it to still be dirty will never not be soul-sucking), and when you get sick Lemsip, and some Heinz tomato soup will never make you feel better the way your mum does.

5. Freshers’ is not all that (but a pint of fun slaps)

Freshers Fight Night

Why was I in 14 different freshers’ group chats, genuinely thinking they were the answer to my anxieties about making friends? Although Freshers’ was a lot of fun, it’s not as big of a deal as you think it is going to be. You’ll meet amazing people, and you’ll stay connected with some, but it is not the be-all and end-all, of making friends.

Many people will bond over a VBL at fight night, or their shared love for a pint of fun in the girl’s bathroom, but don’t be fooled, most of these friendships will not make it past reading week (AKA week six for all my STEM girlies…stay strong out there queens).

6. Adult friendships take more effort than school friendships

GU Weightlifting Club social

Learning to navigate this new type of adult friendship is difficult.

It isn’t like in school where your seating plan in maths was enough to form a friendship, you’ve got to put some effort in. Although your coursework may be time consuming, it’s important to take time to see the people that you care about, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for taking time away from your studies to socialise.

It can be scary at first, but you have to take advantage of every opportunity to put yourself out there and meet new people, whether it’s sitting with someone new in your lectures (yes, even in week 10), going along to a society social or just chatting to new people on a night out, you can’t expect to sit in your flat all day and make meaningful friendships.

7. You aren’t the smart kid anymore

Woman in STEM struggles

Going from being one of the smart ones at school to just being another person in your course who met the straight As entry requirements can be an interesting adjustment, and imposter syndrome is real… but don’t stress queen you deserve to be here. Academic anxiety can be a real killer and to actually relax you need to make sure you’re on top of your coursework, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hang out with your friends or have a cheeky night out. You have to work hard to play hard, but you can make studying fun.

Go to the library with friends, take a little break for coffee and make plans for afterwards. Just because you’re not top of the class anymore doesn’t mean you’re falling behind or failing at being a student, it just means you’re finally in an academic environment where you are challenged by both your work and your peers. You’re not special anymore, and that is okay.

8. There simply is not enough time in the day

End of semester = empty lectures

Yes, according to the teaching office, you can in fact be in two places at once. Make sure to astral project yourself into the JMS whilst your body is left in your tutorial at the St Andrews building.

Sensibly managing your time is so important and it’s hard to adjust to not having someone chase you for your work. There will be times when you have to prioritise one assignment over another, and you’ll be left wishing someone had given you a heads up to pack your time turner (how on Earth did Hermione Granger do this?!).

9. Nights out are like a box of chocolates

Mandatory post-HIVE 727 stop

Whether it’s the bouncing bass of ‘Berkeley Suite’ or a classic sports Wednesday surrounded by sweaty rugby boys dressed in bin bags; the great thing about Glasgow is its selection. A night out is not the same for everyone, its ok if you can’t bring yourself to enjoy the pop classics of “Bamboo” or your friend can’t hack more than an hour in beer bar, you will be reunited in the 727 queue later anyways…

There’s something out there for everyone; whether you aren’t a fan of drinking or Firewater Thursday’s most loyal attendee, Glasgow’s thriving music, sports, and club scene, as well as the immense variety of student events that take place throughout the semester: You will never be bored in Glasgow.

Orange is the best pint of fun flavour… fight me

Any other observations you have? Want to write for The Tab? Message us on our Instagram.

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