There are few places better than University to expand your friendship group and to really broaden your experiences within other cultures. While this is a great opportunity, definitely not one to turn your back on, it can be difficult to remember who you were before you became this mix of your flatmates and new friends.
You’ll suddenly start using new slang that will leave your home town friends baffled, your taste in music could change and – an almost inconceivable idea to a girl from Belfast – you will start wearing trainers everywhere and think it’s okay.
Some people embrace these changes entirely, but others struggle with them. From personal experience, it was hard to deal with the fact that my accent would sometimes slip and that family would say it had changed. It was difficult to connect with some friends from home as my sense of humour had been affected by all these new friends. I resented my new experiences sometimes as I felt I was becoming someone different.
It took a while, but I came to realise that the mix of people I had come to know affected me in the best way. My new friends at university offered numerous new avenues for me to explore, I was able to discover things I loved that I would never have even looked twice at before. On the other side of the sea, my friends at home kept me grounded in who I was. They didn’t let me forget my embarrassing moments, or the goofy things we found hilarious. I began to get comfortable with the idea of being an improved version of myself.
Meeting new people at uni and changing – which you undoubtedly will – is not a bad thing. Like me, it may take you over a year to grasp this. Or, maybe you’ll be lucky and go into uni with this mindset already. Whatever approach you take, you don’t have to worry that you’re becoming someone unknown to your oldest friends and even unknown to yourself.
Your time at uni will give you exciting stories, new anecdotes and yes, maybe even a pair of white trainers – but as soon as you arrive back home, you can rest assured that despite your new wild wardrobe and slang, you’re still the same person who nervously wandered into the shared kitchen that first day of freshers. Just with better taste in music.