A letter to my first-year self: Helen

Helen Elsworth

Helen Elsworth is a final year BSc Tropical Disease Biology student. Here, Helen looks back at her time at the University and thinks about what she would tell her first-year self. Thanks for sharing, Helen.

Dear First Year Me,

The next three years are going to test you in ways you could never imagine.

You’re going to have ups and downs, highs and lows, and an all-round rollercoaster of a time but when you get to the end you will realise it was all worth it.

Make the most of your first year at Liverpool. Not just in terms of your time at the university, but make sure you enjoy the city that is now your home too. While you still need to get the grades and try your best, don’t stress too much about your workload while you have the chance and take advantage of every opportunity. Trust me, by the time you get to the third year the things you were worried about in the first year will seem trivial.

Get involved. By the time you get to third year you’ll be glad you took advantage
of every opportunity offered to you while you had the time. Go to the freshers’ fairs,
sign up for lots of sports and societies, and most importantly give it a go. Yes, you
will inevitably end up on the email list for so many things, but you will find your
people. There’s nothing worse than getting to third year, realising you have no
time, and thinking: “You know, I wish I had tried something new in first year.”
You may not enjoy everything you do but at least you will not wonder, “What if?” Get a job but don’t let it run your life. Money is not the be all and end all, but it helps.

On that note, make time to see friends and meet new people. I know first year
seems daunting, but you’ll never have as much free time as you do now. At
first it may seem that your flat is the only people you can spend time with but that’s
not the case. There are so many people out there and you’ll meet the greatest
people. Don’t feel like you can’t talk to those people in your lecture just because
fresher’s week is over and you don’t think it’s socially acceptable anymore. We didn’t start speaking to some of the best friends we’ve made until second year.

Equally, make time for yourself. While trying new things is great, if they aren’t for
you, don’t make them a commitment and take time to do things you enjoy instead.
Don’t feel guilty for reading a book just because it isn’t for your module, or for
binge-watching that show you really enjoy.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Speaking to other people on your course about the
content can help you understand the material from someone who will likely explain it differently than your lecturer. Most lecturers have office hours. Make the most of
them if you have any questions or concerns about the material or anything you may
need help with. Everyone is there to help and you should take advantage of that
whenever you need.

It won’t be easy and at times you will miss home, especially the dog! But those
feelings will pass and mum will always be at the end of the phone. And when you look back at how far you’ve come you will be so proud.

Most importantly, have fun.

An exhausted third year x