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Things I Did as a First-Year Uni Student That Make Me Cringe Now

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Things I did as a first-year uni student that make me cringe now

Being a first year is a confusing, scary and exciting time. Your first year is when you are allowed to make lots of mistakes and learn from them. Unfortunately, that means you’re going to have to suffer through some pretty cringe scenarios like I did. Don’t worry, when you’re in your final year you’ll be able to look back and laugh at how young, sweet and naive you were. Just to make you feel better about it, here are some things I did as a first year that make me laugh now!


Asking to go to the bathroom

When you transition from high school to university, there’s a big switch in dynamic from the teachers, to how you feel like you should behave. So, when you’ve grown up your whole life asking to go to the bathroom, it feels weird to suddenly not ask permission anymore! So yes, a few times in my first year I would interrupt the class and ask to go to the bathroom until the lecturer finally said in front of everyone, “You don’t need to ask you know, this isn’t school!”  I can still hear the mocking laughter of my peers in my nightmares…so cringe.  

Waiting outside the classroom

Again, like in high school, you wait outside the classroom until the teacher allows you to come in. So naturally, me and my peers thought the same rules applied in university. So we’d wait outside like little lambs, bless us, until we worked up the courage to actually let ourselves in. And did it give us a rush! Now I have a quiet giggle when I see students waiting outside the classroom when they could literally just walk in and sit down. You can do it first years, be brave!

Doing the readings religiously

Yeah, I know what you’re about to say. “But the readings are compulsory!” Ugh, you sound like such a first year right now. This is what I used to think when they would give us a whole novel to read before the next class. You really only need the most important and interesting parts of a reading to know what you’re talking about. Just going through quickly with a highlighter and marking the parts that jump out at you will take five minutes rather than two hours. I’m not saying we condone you doing this, but if you were to wing it and skip a few readings here and there…I mean, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

Refusing to speak up in group projects

The difference in my behaviour in a group project in first year compared to my last year is laughable! I would never speak up and I would go along with whatever plan the group leader would come up with, even if I hated it. In my final year, I would almost always assume the group leader role because I knew that nobody could get the work done the way I wanted it. I was way more outspoken, I had more confidence in the material that I had learnt and felt comfortable asking the lecturer questions after class. The best part is, my grades went up for it!

Buying food every day

Why does uni food taste so much better than any other food you will ever have at home? One of the biggest mistakes as a first year (and to be fair, second and third) is continuously buying food and coffee instead of packing your own. This is a slippery slope that is so hard to stop once you’ve started. You’ll find yourself looking at your bank account wondering who stole your bank card and went on a spending spree, because surely you didn’t spend $15 on a croissant? Don’t worry, you’ll know it’s time to stop spending when your card declines at the café. Cringe.

Studying for exams

I would be sitting there in the library, colour coded pens at the ready. I had beautifully decorated study cards, have every note I’ve ever taken in class and healthy study snacks ready to go. First year me was so prepared, and I would stay there for hours! Now my “study sessions” comprise of me sitting at my desk for twenty minutes, going through old lectures slides on my laptop. And then I’d get bored, think “eh, I’ll wing it in the exam” and go back to sleep. Oh, how times have changed.

My food for thought

Even though being a first year was tough, confusing and sometimes cringe, it was one of the most exciting times in my life. Where I was meeting new people, getting some independence and learning new things. So, take this time to appreciate all the mistakes and new experiences that being a first year brings, because you’ll wish you could go back to the days when you would wake up excited to learn something new every day once you’ve graduated.  


Words by Sophie Nicolas – Sophie Studied a Bachelor of Arts at Edith Cowan University and also studied abroad in Japan

You can read more work from Sophie on her website or on Uni Junkee

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