This week, 8,000 people became Cardiff students. That’s 8,000 seismic moments in life – and for those far from home and entering the strange hinterland of studenthood (with all its revelations and responsibilities) these first few days can be daunting.
“I spent the first 3 months in a daze,” says Sharon Anne Evans (BA 2018). “I wandered around telling anyone who would listen that I really should not have been there! My advice to myself would be this: do not let anyone tell you that you should not even bother trying to better yourself.”
Outside the classroom, it can be tempting to hide yourself away from the traditional cacophony of Freshers’ Week. “Don’t spend too much time alone in your room,” says David Marsden (LLB 1978). “University is a great opportunity to do new things. Get involved in clubs and societies, get out and about and make new friends.”
Mark McArthur-Christie (BA 1989) reassures you that you aren’t alone in feeling a little shy at first.
“Even though everyone else seems more confident, cleverer and more sorted than you, they’re not. They’re every bit as terrified, lost and baffled as you. So go and talk to them! Say ‘yes’ more than ‘no’. Enjoy every minute, take every opportunity and meet everyone you can.”
Time is of the essence, he adds. “Three years will seem like a lifetime in Freshers’ Week but it’ll be gone before you know it.”
“I would have captured every moment, held on to it and cherished it,” agrees Kaywana Edgecombe (LLB 2009). “I was too busy having count downs to when I would go home for a break. Now, Cardiff is a part of me and I yearn to visit every two years. I wish I had just relaxed and enjoyed each day instead of being home sick.”
The final word falls to Jenifer A. Daley (PhD 2002), who gives us some advice we can benefit from long after those first-day nerves are forgotten and forgone.
“Relax. You are not here by accident. You have a purpose here. Learn well. Grow into who you were created to be.”