The University of Southampton has recently launched a video advertising the range of activities their students can get involved in during their degrees. It features several current students, including a couple of my course mates, describing some of the things they have taken part in (skydiving! Woooooo!) and offering advice to new students.
With over 300 societies—including over 80 sports clubs—provided through the Students’ Union, Southampton is a unique opportunity to try out a range of experiences, but the time goes by fast.
I have sought to take as much advantage of this opportunity as I could and I have certainly broadened my horizons, but last month I found myself facing the end of my time at Southampton and feeling frustrated at the things I haven’t done. I have had a far more challenging time at Southampton than other students seem to and I wonder what I might have been able to achieve had things gone more smoothly.
Nevertheless, I still have most of my final year ahead of me and I want to take as much advantage of it as I can while I’m here. I already have the skydiving club (in a social capacity for now) and the surfing club; this year I’ve become secretary of the Gliding club too and we’re starting to get that off the ground again (if you’ll excuse the pun) after a year or so of dormancy. I have a packed schedule in terms of lectures for the foreseeable future along with the Lunar Hopper GDP but I still feel like there’s something else I want to do. Both time and money are going to be at a premium this year though, and there’s more to choose from than I could ever have time for.
I find myself reflecting on what advice I would give my first-year self if I had the chance. Back then I was still recovering from a family bereavement and it was arguably too soon to be taking on something as big as this. The first thing I could have done is seek out help with the transition to living independently, including finding people to live with who I could get on with comfortably at the time rather than just dropping me in with a bunch of random strangers. Finding some time to learn how to cook would also have been good. Finally, getting into counselling sooner would have done me a world of good and helped me to move on sooner, which might have made the following years easier and more successful. Generally, my advice would be to ensure the help I needed was fully put in place as soon as possible, as things would have been so much easier had that happened.
My finances are very tight right now, so whatever I choose is going to have to be cheap. But what do I go for? Have I got enough going already? Should I double down or branch out?