It was about this time last year, when I was Year 13 at High School, that I began to think about how I couldn’t wait to leave. I felt like I had outgrown school and was ready for University. Trust me there is nothing wrong with feeling like this. A lot of year 13’s feel exactly the same. But from my own experiences, don’t let this feeling dominate your remaining time left at high school. You may be counting down until you are free but whilst doing this, make your remaining time the best days ever. High School can actually be fun and it is a great time to create long-lasting memories with people who, sadly, you might not see again.
I was guilty of doing this, I created a countdown on my phone which told me just how many days I had until I packed up my whole life and moved to Auckland. A move that led me to some of the best people I’ve ever met, independence and a conjoint degree that I love. It’s crazy to think of everything that has happened in the short period of 6 months and how my life has completely changed, for the better.

Although I was counting down because I was so excited, there was one thing about going to University that I was not excited about, making friends. I was one of three people from my school going to Auckland and even then we were all simply acquaintances. Therefore, I was pretty much starting from scratch. I know it’s hard to believe me when I say this (I wouldn’t have listened last year) but don’t be scared as almost everyone is in the same boat. It is awkward at first but with time the people you meet in your first semester are likely to become your best friends (hopefully for life) (sorry that was cringe but it is true). I love looking back on how we all interacted when we first met to how we are now at the conclusion of semester one, it shows how much we all grow and change. I believe the friends you make will truly have a big impact on you and how your first semester goes. They were there when I felt homesick, stressed, and tired (common feelings in the first semester unfortunately) and helped me to create moments that I class as some of the best moments of my life so far. Without them, semester one would have felt a whole lot longer and more painful than it actually was.

Making the jump from year 13 subjects to University courses was also daunting. I expected everything to suddenly get so much harder. I was right about the work getting harder but it was not to the extreme that I imagined, think of it like the difference between the NCEA levels. I have to admit, it initially took me a little while to get into the swing of things and understand what was needed, both effort and quality of work wise. However, once I began to grasp what was needed, my results soon reflected that. So don’t panic, with time you will begin to understand everything. This understanding, coupled with enough effort, will mean good grades should hopefully follow. It is not just the quality of work expected that was daunting to me but also the courses. Law is not something you take at high school so I was limited in my knowledge of what the course would involve and if it was something that I would enjoy. Throughout the semester, my understanding of what a law degree actually is and entails grew. And with that, so did my love of it. For others, not so much. My best advice in regards to picking your courses is to choose something you love the sound of and don’t be put off if you haven’t done anything like it before. You will either love it or hate it, but at least you have given it a go and learnt from it. Plus, if you end up hating law and swapping out of it, Law 121 is a general education paper so it won’t be pointless!

Looking back at what I imagined University to be like at the beginning of semester one compared to the reality of it now, I think I built it up in my head to be a whole lot worse than it actually is. I have been fortunate enough to make incredible friends who I have become so close to and can rely on for anything as well as finding a degree that I love and want to continue with. So although it may seem scary for a variety of reasons and you may be hesitant in actually starting this crazy journey, I can honestly say that I have no regrets and I hope semester two is just as good as semester one!

Enjoy your holidays!