An Open Letter To… First Year Me

© Rachel Jefferies
Features want to get personal and what’s more personal than a letter? Whether it’s to your younger self, future self, idol or your hometown, a letter is sometimes the best way to get our true feelings down. But we’re doing things differently here at Quench… we’re publishing them. So keep an eye out for a series of up-close and personal letters from Quench’s Features section!

Dear first year me,

© Rachel Jefferies

Listen up naïve, overexcited and younger me. I’ve been and conquered the milestone you’re about to hurtle through and thus have two years of knowledge and experience on you making me a wiser and better version of yourself. Therefore, should the opportunity to travel back in time arise, I am writing you a letter of warning, pride, embarrassment and hindsight that will either stand you better prepared or instil complete fear in you.

First off, moving away from home to begin your part-time life of independence and freedom. Luckily for you, or in fact it may appear to others as unlucky, University came at an almost life saving time in your life. With trouble at home for the past couple of years, I understand and therefore do not blame you for being excited about escaping it. Only now, a few years later, do I realise how badly you needed to get away and begin to look after yourself and do your own thing. For this reason, if I could give you any advice, it would be that you shouldn’t have felt guilty for being relieved to get away. In addition, you should be embarrassed about the amount of times you had to call mum to ask how to do straight forward and menial household tasks!

Serious topic now, money! Don’t be baffled by the digits rolling into your bank account when the student loan comes in. That is to last a fair few months, not the time it takes you to get to the shopping centre and back. You should know you’re one of the lucky ones that is quite fortunate to have a substantial amount of loan. You also shouldn’t assume that all of your friends have the same privilege and you should remember to respect that. You don’t need to buy that many coffees but you’ll be happy to know that even though you knew that early on, you still don’t listen to your own advice and continue to spend the majority of your student loan on over-priced coffee about four or even five times a day.

Now for a slightly more troubling and seemingly exhausting topic: boys. Upon reflection, I wish you could have known just how much you are worth. I wish you could have learnt earlier that it is okay to say no instead of trying to be nice and laugh off the sexist and inappropriate comments to avoid confrontation or maybe even worse. I wish you had realised sooner that it’s okay to be on your own and that you don’t need a man in your life to make you complete. It’s probably already too late to tell you now but try not to get infatuated by guys you can’t have and although it’s quite difficult to believe at times, there are some good guys out there so wait for them!

Sometimes, in all the society socials and numerous club events, it’s easy to forget that the primary reason for going to University is to study. No one can really blame you for getting carried away during your first year as you can afford to blow off some steam on a regular occasion. However, it only gets harder from there and the nights out and your attendance to socials gradually decrease simultaneously with the increase in work load, believe me. If I have one tip that I would have loved you to abide by it would be don’t tell your grandparents how much you drink or how late you get to bed; you definitely should’ve kept that a secret because you’ll never hear the end of it. Big mistake made there! Also, please stop falling over in nightclubs.

Although I’m saying all of this, I wouldn’t be the person I am now if I hadn’t done all of these things. Life is about learning from your mistakes and I’ve certainly had a few. I’ve drunk too much, I’ve said things I shouldn’t have, I’ve overworked myself and underworked myself. I’ve over spent and I’ve overslept. But, do I like the person I am today? Well, I guess you’re not half bad! You have supportive family, amazing friends, you’re doing well at university and you’re happy. There’s nothing more you can really ask for and so, if you learn from your mistakes then there’s one less thing to get wrong in the future. Keep doing you.


Third year me x

By Kate Eagleton-Etheridge