A fresh view: leaving a small town

‘Where are you from?’

‘What are you studying?’

‘So… what A-levels did you do?’

And then conversation stops. This is my greatest fear. That we’ll all exhaust these basic questions, and then stare wistfully around, thinking that another night out in our hometown actually sounds pretty good about now… another evening spent arguing with my sister, and having a miniature meltdown when my mum suggests that I do the washing up.

No. We all want to be here. We all want new experiences and, thank god, a new place to go on a Friday night, so that means we just have to keep trying.
Once Freshers’ Week starts and, by definition, the drinking starts, we’re all going to feel more confident and become a lot chattier. By next week we’re going to have all these funny stories to laugh about together: we’re going to have banter. Banter makes everything better. It will probably mean we’ll be a bit unkind to each other, but it also means we’ll bond, and have something to laugh about for at least a week. So the unkindness can be seen as for the greater good of our burgeoning friendships.

I know that most people eventually become really close to their friends at uni. How can you not when you live together and have so many new experiences with each other? But those first few days, when we’re all going to awkwardly converge in the kitchen and try to make small talk about the modules we’ve picked, that is what I am dreading.

It’s so difficult to comprehend that I’m leaving somewhere I have lived all my life. A small town where I walk out my house and instantly see various friends and acquaintances just on my way to Tesco. Say I’m at work and I’ve forgotten my phone; my mum can just drop it off on her way to the shops. If I want to see my best friend? Quickly pop over after school for a cup of tea and some quality facebooking time together. I need some cash? My grandma will be in the cafe in the centre of town. Sorted.

Now I’m going to be at the other end of the country, in a city that I’ve decided is right for me because I’m studying history and I like ‘old stuff’. I’m going to be with completely new people. People who don’t remember me when I was twelve. They are going to be people from hugely different backgrounds to myself and they will have many varying interests and ideas. Of course this is what will, after the events of Freshers’ Week, make university so enjoyable, fun and unpredictable. But it’s pretty damn scary at the moment.

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