My friends deferred. I didn’t.

facetiming a friendNobody ever said coming to University was easy; but deciding to go to Uni when all your friends at home deferred was a decision I didn’t take lightly.

The serious fear of missing out really got to me in the weeks leading up to moving away. It was a feeling I wasn’t expecting, but speaking to people at Marjon made me realise it’s one many people seem to have.

Due to Covid 19, my friends chose to defer their places at University and go the year after, but I knew I was ready to start something new and I didn’t want to put it off.

This meant I was the only person I knew moving away.

For a while I felt disjointed and isolated from my friends conversations and lives. When they spoke about their new local jobs, I didn’t really know what to say. They seemed to have everything planned for the year and I was going somewhere unfamiliar with basic plans. Covid meant I didn’t know how I was going to be studying or what the social life was going to be like. How was I going to meet new people? We had already been through one lockdown and I was worried about how I would deal with this being away from home and my family if we had a second.

I was nervous in the days leading up to leaving. Will I enjoy independence, make friends, miss out on things back home?

Before going, I would go through online lists and check repeatedly I had enough of everything. Three towels, two plates, one blanket to keep me warm. I drove my family up the wall with the constant repacking to make sure everything was there.

I was so worried I wouldn’t know how to use the washing machine or I would use all of my maintenance loan too quickly and have no money left to live on.

But I chose to go. I knew it would give me the best opportunity and I didn’t want to delay it. I was ready.

Arriving was so strange. I had butterflies all the way there, worrying that I wouldn’t make friends and nobody would like me. We had a socially distanced Freshers where I met loads of new people and my confidence started to build from there. I suddenly realised everyone was in the same boat and I hadn’t needed to worry at all.

All my fears seemed to slip away. I had been terrified that my friends back home would all go on without me and everything would change. Watching them all meet up for socially distanced walks and picnics was hard to see, especially when I knew if I was at home I would be right there with them. But at Marjon I was met with a close family atmosphere that welcomed me with open arms. I learnt that it was okay that my friends were doing things without me because I was also doing things at Uni.

It wasn’t until I went back home for Christmas that I really felt better. I realised it wasn’t my friends who had moved on without me; it was me who had really changed. I was bombarded with questions about University life and was surrounded by curiosity. They were all excited to see me and were desperate to find out what their lives might be like next year when they go.

I sat down and spoke about living at University and how incredible it is; being met with more and more questions. It’s wonderful to see my friends get ready to go to University in September and I’m so glad I can help and give them advice.

If I had stayed behind and followed everyone else’s lead I wouldn’t have met my Uni friends or had any of the incredible experiences. We were all in different places last September and I hadn’t realised it then. I was ready. They weren’t. But they will be next September.

They’ve had some wonderful experiences at home and I have had some here. I’m more confident in myself now which I wouldn’t have been if I had stayed home and am relishing the new challenges I have been given at Marjon. I’m loving every second and I’m so glad I came.

By Rowan Mobsby-Frost, BA (Hons) Musical Theatre.

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