Reinvent yourself at uni

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When you go to Uni, one of the many, many benefits is that nobody really knows you or your personality, at least at first. Just because everyone from your school (aka your old life) knows that back then you wouldn't have said "boo" to a goose, there’s no reason why now, in this new journey, you can’t be anything you want to be. Whether you want to get rid of some baggage, or just put on a whole new and more confident front, there are plenty of ideas to get you started on a whole new you. Remember, you should never change yourself just to fit in, but if there has ever been something you really want to try or a path you want to carve out for yourself, then why not just go for it?

When I was at University, I decided it would be an awesome idea to join the Cheerleading team. Why not? I’d been a huge fan of American teen comedies for years, and so I figured I could give it a go, too. I’d never done anything like it before, but with gymnastics training from about ten years earlier, limited dance training from my musical theatre days and a general cheerful attitude, I decided to try it out. It turned out to be a whole lot harder than it looks – I was probably the least experienced on the team – but it was well worth it, and when I was chosen to compete (albeit in the lowest level) it was still an achievement. I looked a little out of place (being a bit of an emo kid with bright purple hair on a cheerleading squad will do that), but it just goes to show that you can literally try anything once you’re given an opportunity in a new environment.

If you don’t think cheerleading is for you, there are loads of other sports and activities you can get into. People on my course tried their hand at American Football, there are girls who got into fitness in such a way that they now compete for England in fitness competitions, and I even heard whispers of University Quidditch teams, like something straight out of Harry Potter. One of my highlights was a surfing trip with the surfing society, which was mostly fun for the social aspect.

Some people don’t like getting active, and that’s fine. There are loads of other things you can launch yourself into. Most courses have societies, which are basically excuses to get together, go on nights out, meals and to fancy dress parties with other, like-minded people. There are societies around loads of different things though – from religions, crafts, baking and culture, to travel, music and beyond.

If all this talk about societies is leaving you with awful flashbacks of being left out in school, or you’re a little shy, there are loads of things you can do on a smaller scale. You can put on nights just for your flat if you want to – your own version of ‘Come Dine With Me’ perhaps? Or even a trip to the cinema or a weekly ‘date night’ for a meal out will do! Some people even create their own societies – University is really inclusive, so no matter your passion, you can start one up. Perhaps you want to organise a fashion show or even start a band (I did this one, too!), they’re all just ideas to feel more involved with other people in the same boat as you.

I’d seriously recommend getting involved with something – anything – as these can often help form the memories you’ll look back on in years to come. You’ll build a support network, have stuff to do, and it even looks good on your CV. I’d even go as far as to suggest you should be the host/hostess when there are parties, and try and get onto committees. Plus, you end up looking really cool. The more involved you get, the more rewarding it will be, but it does take up a lot of effort. I only wish I’d had the time to do that myself!

Remember, University isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, and sometimes we just don’t get off to the start we had imagined. Liberty Living’s staff in your student accommodation are always on hand for a chat, and if there’s anything they can help you with, whether it’s a personal issue or advice on stuff to do in the local area when you’re bored, don’t hesitate to give them a shout. Have fun, and make the most of these years!

Liberty Living provides student accommodation in 17 university cities across the UK, including student accommodation in Medway, student accommodation in Newcastle, student accommodation in Preston plus many more.

Posted on 6th October 2014 by Claire L.

Claire Louise Sheridan lives and works in Peterborough. She recently graduated with a degree in English and Communication Studies from the University of Liverpool.

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