A Letter To My Past Self: Cheers To First Year

Dear all,

Howdy. I’m back!! For reals, this time. I have finally finished my first year at uni after a hellish exam period (*screams hallelujah*), I’ve packed my life away into boxes and I’ve moved home for the summer. Sooo, ya’ll can expect a lot more activity round here on the ol’ blog, since I’m no longer spending every waking moment sobbing over flashcards. Waheeey! I’m planning on posting twice a week, every week, and I’ve got some v v exciting posts planned – travel posts and some of my own music *gulps through nerves* coming up too!

So, with today’s post, I wanted to reflect on my first year at university. I have found uni to be the most amazing place. I’ve met some incred friends, made incred memories and I’ve, frankly, had a ball. However, it’s been far from the glossy, romanticised vision our society is hellbent on painting uni with. And to be completely honest, I don’t think anyone has the typical uni experience and if you say you do, you’re probably tellin’ a lil fib.

So with that, I’d like to have a wee giggle about the moments where uni has seemed far from perfect. And to, again, be completely honest, I’m happy that it is this way. I’ve got far fonder, funnier memories to look back on. Enjoy!

[Disclaimer: I’ve currently been poorly in bed for the last few days, having managed to catch a stomach bug as soon as I arrive home for the holidays. Yay for me. So I hope this post is okay – I am writing it with stomach cramps and a full blown headache, so hopefully it’s still written half decently.]


It’s September:

You arrive. Hellooo Fresher’s Week: the epitome of the romanticised uni experience.

You meet your flatmates. Utter strangers whom you’ve been randomly placed to endure the next 9 months with.

By the end of the week, after many a pre-drinking Cards Against Humanity sesh and late night (drunk) bonding heart-to-hearts, you honestly feel like the Uni Gods meant to put you guys together.

It’s fate.

You just might have met your friendship soulmates.

everything about freshers summed up in a pic ????

A post shared by Madeleine Bourne (@maddiemae_xo) on

It’s November:

The kitchen’s a tip.

Timetables and formative assignments have come rolling in and, God forbid, that word *summative* has started being banded about.

With those dreaded words, reality has set in.

You find out more about each flatmate’s personalities, their habits and you even realise that your eating times don’t align. Cooking dinner solo has now become a thing.

Suddenly, those flat movie nights and drinking sesh’s will gradually come to a halt. Everyone’s too busy (begrudgingly) getting on with assignments to spend time with each other.

The Uni Gods didn’t think about this.


A post shared by Madeleine Bourne (@maddiemae_xo) on

It’s January:

You’re back after Christmas- will this be a fresh start?

Dinner time rolls around. You’re still cooking solo in your tip of a kitchen. YouTube’s become your new best pal in these darker moments.

You think about drawing up a cleaning rota.

Don’t. It’s a waste of paper and money, which you need to conserve because you’re a student who is borderline hitting their overdraft, and NO ONE will bother taking those bins out anyway.

You included.


A post shared by Madeleine Bourne (@maddiemae_xo) on

It’s March:

Your room was practically Tumblr-worthy when you moved in.

Roll around the end of semester 2 and you’re wading knee deep in (not freshly washed) laundry just to make it to the bathroom.

YouTube is still your best pal during solo cooking sessions.

No one’s taking the bins out.

You included. Again.

It’s May:

Exams have arrived, so you blame revision stress on the messy kitchen, the fact that your washing up has been left in a pile for a solid 3 days and your refusal to even hoover your room.

Flat movie night still hasn’t happened, but it’s exams so of course it’s natural that you haven’t got round to it.

You only had October, November, December, January, February, March and April to watch LaLa Land collectively.

But it’s okay.

It’s June:

Oh wait, what? Exams are over? Time to pack up and head home.

That laundry gets hidden at the bottom of your suitcase in the hope that Mum will just be so grateful to have her child back, she’ll gladly do the washing for you.

Flat movie night anyon-? Oh wait. Everyone’s gone home for summer.

Just you and YouTube, then.

At least the kitchen’s finally clean. And the bins have actually been taken out. It’s got nothing to do with that scary-sounding email from accommodation services stating that you’ll be fined for every bin bag left and every surface left unwiped.

Not at all.


Just to preface: there are 3 types of friendship at uni. You’ve got your best pals, your acquaintances and then those awkward alcohol-fuelled friendships that remain nostalgic remnants of fresher’s week past.

It’s September:

You can’t bloody believe your luck. You’re pretty sure you’ve reached best pal status already with said flatmates.

How romanticised and perfect.

Life is GOOD.


It’s November:

Flatmates always busy. YouTube your best friend. Confused about pretty much everything to do with uni.

You’ve had to become best pal status pretty damn quick with your housemates for next year, seeing as EVERYONE decides to find a house for second year practically the second you flipping move in. Are they your best pals? Who knows?

Fingers crossed, eh.

successfully adulted today + found ourselves a house YAY ?

A post shared by Madeleine Bourne (@maddiemae_xo) on

It’s January:

Life is GOOD again.

You’re feeling like you kinda know who your best pals are now. Luckily it’s with your housemates for next year.

Phew. *wipes sweaty brow*

You’ve got stuck in with your fave societies and you’ve made plenty of acquaintances to get you through.

Life is dandy.

Redbrick 4eva xoxo

It’s March:

Weirdly, you keep bumping into people on campus whose faces you just recognise from somewhere.

Sift through the drunken memories from those early weeks and you realise through the hazy fog that you’re pretty sure you shared a tipsy, TMI heart-to-heart with that gal with the blonde hair.

You’re pretty sure she’s called Emily.

You mentally address her as ‘Fresher Emily’ every time you see her. Never just Emily.

That would be wrong.

Do we look apeeling for societies night?? ?? see wot I did there ??

A post shared by Madeleine Bourne (@maddiemae_xo) on

It’s May:

You’ve awkwardly bumped into Fresher Emily around 150 times this year.

Like, what do you do when you see her?

Do you smile, or say ‘hey’? Reminisce over those drunken moments?

You realise it’s probably best just to blank her, in case those drunken memories haven’t stuck for her.

??honestly super lucky to have met the best pals at uni this year, inc. these two fab ppl??

A post shared by Madeleine Bourne (@maddiemae_xo) on

It’s June:

You leave uni with a smile on yo face.

You’ve met the best pals and had a ball.

Fresher Emily has been upgraded to Fresher Em – you’ve seen her often enough to give her an affectionate nickname, right?

pals xxxx


It’s September:

Being a Fresher is just incred.

You rock up to 9am lectures after a full night of drinking and you actually manage to stay awake.

Heck, you even made some notes. They’re barely legible, but it’s the thought that counts.

You’re feeling practically superhuman.

This uni thing is a piece of cake.

Here come ALL the pics of Old Joe, bc he cute xxx

It’s November:

The first formatives have started rolling in.

You get your first feedback on an essay. Let’s just say it could have gone better.

What is writing?

What is referencing?

You start questioning why you even applied to study.

?Brum I'll miss ya ~ today was a good day?

A post shared by Madeleine Bourne (@maddiemae_xo) on

It’s January:

Summative essays make you angry that you even panicked over a formative.

You feel like you’re finally digging this essay. You’re pretty sure it reads like a solid 2:1.

Life is stressful, but at least you have some idea of how to do uni now, right?

??Old Joe don't need no filter bc he be lookin' gd??

A post shared by Madeleine Bourne (@maddiemae_xo) on

It’s March:

You were wrong. Very wrong.

Again, what is writing?

Why do I still not even know how to reference?!

I’m paying £9,000 to have my soul crushed every time I receive feedback.


I may be paying 9K but at least my campus is Instagrammable

It’s May:

At first it’s: exams, revision, stress.

Give a couple weeks of blindly revising due to having absolutely no guidance from lecturers on how to write a university exam answer and it’s: still exams, no revision, and ‘I’m giving up’.

‘It’s only first year’ is the mantra of the month.

Keep going, kiddo.

Hey there Joe ?????

A post shared by Madeleine Bourne (@maddiemae_xo) on

It’s June:

You leave your final exam, expecting to feel hugely elated that this stress is over.

Actually, it’s all kind of anticlimactic.

Wow, it’s now June.

Shit, where did the year go?!

I absolutely cannot wait to start here in September ??

A post shared by Madeleine Bourne (@maddiemae_xo) on

I’ve had the fabbest year – thank you to everyone who’s made my first year at uni so darn special xxxx



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