The University Chronicles: 2019 to 2022

For some, their university experience is dull. For this writer, it was one hell of a rollercoaster.

Kayleigh Fraser
16th May 2022
My three years here have been... interesting. Image credit: Kayleigh Fraser
As I scrape through my final month here in Newcastle, I'm reminded of the rollercoaster of a journey I've been on in my three years as an undergrad. In this article, I'm going to take a look back and reflect on these wild three years.

The day I submitted my UCAS application, I wasn't even sure I'd make it to university. Back then, I was a naive, introverted and quite lost eighteen year old. I had no idea where I was going, who I wanted to be and what I wanted my life to look like.

Choosing English was something I was slightly pushed into. People around me assured me it was the best option; a 'core' subject. Coming to this decision, I wasn't exactly confident, but intrigued to see where my degree would take me.

I was a naive, introverted and quite lost eighteen year old. I had no idea where I was going, who I wanted to be and what I wanted my life to look like.

Then, September came. I had three days between the family holiday and my move in date at the dreaded Turner Court (see an article from issue 1417 for more information on this...). Packing far too much of my life away into boxes and bin bags, we made the twenty-five minute journey up to Newcastle. God knows why I cried so much when it was only twenty five minutes...

This is the part where you think it'll get exciting. Kayleigh let loose in Freshers. Intriguing! Alas, reader, I must disappoint you with the most bleak Freshers story. I literally did nothing. I met my would be future flatmates and the current iconic Film sub-ed George Bell but that's about it. Oh! How could I forget! I was hit by a bike...

Reflecting on Freshers, I'm sad that I didn't take advantage of the opportunities we had at hand. Going out, meeting people, clubbing, drinking - it all felt so impossible to me. I think my mind just put a mental block on things like that as I convinced myself it was something I could never do. Me? In a nightclub? Never.

Along with strikes, assignments and regular life, University continued through February. Nothing exciting happened, really. I started my job at a bar where I currently work, signed a flat and then March happened.

Ah, March 2020. The month where I transported my collection of hand sanitizer's to Newcastle only to transport them back home again. If I'm honest, I think I've blocked this time out of my mind. Lockdown, late nights, walks, iced coffee, trying (and failing) the whole Chloe Ting workout trend all the while attempting to navigate my degree from my long abandoned childhood bedroom.

It just was not the vibe. I had no idea what I was doing the entire time and we had zero support from lecturers. This probably explains why I did so bad in the latter half of first year as I just had zero support.

Then, after a very odd summer, second year arrived. Except, I was not in the flat I signed to live in in first year, but right back home with mum and dad. Telling the explanation for that decision would take a whole other article. Let's just say it's not a brilliant story.

Once again, we were set to navigate University from our bedrooms. I spent most of my days watching old TV shows and movies as my meagre three contact hours a week meant that I really didn't have much going on. This really is the part where I became really disconnected with my degree.

I started to realise that none of it was for me anymore. An option was to drop out but I couldn't face the consequences of it and knew I had to see it through. Writing for The Courier became part of my escape, too. Mostly writing for Comment, my articles covered local elections, Donald Trump and so much more.

One good thing that came out of second year was that I really started to realise who I was. When you have that much time to yourself cooped up in your bedroom your brain really does get ticking. I reflected upon all the time I'd wasted, all the things I hadn't done and all of the opportunities I'd wasted.

I passed my essays and left second year feeling hopeful, for the first time in a long time. The Summer of freedom took over, I moved into the flat with my new housemate and started again. I started fresh.

Now, finally, this is the part of the story that defies expectations. When I told myself that third year was going to be 'my year', I didn't realise how much I'd really accomplish. I began my roles within Student Media and really started to find my rhythm. I found joy.

After two years of sadness and wallowing not knowing what comes next, I changed my entire life. I have a path now, a way in to a career and I have a real belief in myself that I'm where I need to be.

Writing this article today I'm not the same nineteen year old who wrote her first article for Travel, gushing about Disneyland. Now, I'm a (nearly) 22 year old who has direction, drive and so much belief that I can truly achieve what I want.

Goodbye Newcastle. It's been... interesting.

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AUTHOR: Kayleigh Fraser
Campus Comment Sub Editor for 2021/22 and Head of News at NSR. English Literature Student heavily obsessed with politics, bath and body works and making positive change. Also slightly infatuated with iced coffee, guinea pigs, my dog and binging The Simpsons.

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