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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Exeter chapter.

I write from an undeniably naïve perspective. Someone who lived fleetingly and self-consciously for so many years – absorbed with studying, gossip, insecurity and, it must be said, myself. I was told in various ways that coming to university would be a fresh start. A way to reinvent yourself. But I didn’t want to reinvent myself, I said. I didn’t want to ‘fake’ who I was. Well, I can honestly say that in these first short weeks at university, in which I’ve been busier than I ever imagined and have made more friends, laughed more and messed up more than the past few years combined, I have been myself. A better version of myself. 

I sit in my room, the obligatory polaroid’s and prints tacked up on the walls in carefully planned chaos, listening to Joni Mitchell and absentmindedly snacking on cereal. It occurs to me that if an autopsy were carried out on me, you would find solely bran flakes, mounds of pasta and half an apple in my stomach. And yet, I along with so many others I have spoken to, have felt such an uplifting freedom since coming to university. Sure, nothing in our kitchen works, the floor has been sticky for two weeks now from what I can only assume is vodka and 7UP being spilt all over it one drunken night, and when my friend came to visit, she actually told me I was living in ‘squalor’.  Yet, university is truly such a unique experience and you find yourself in situations you never would, or could, have imagined. Just a few nights ago I was trekking out to a bar at ten in the evening to go to a folk society meeting, in which we sat at a fairy-light lit table drinking tea and listening to accordions, whistles and guitars being played by two students and, for reasons I still haven’t managed to find out, an eighty-year-old man. He paid for the tea so the more the merrier! Or how about the time I met up with some friends I made at meditation society and we spent a long sunny morning chatting and exploring campus, eventually hijacking a Fungi Society meeting to talk about how to grow your own mushrooms. Only the legal kind of course. And don’t even get me started on all the ABBA themed nights there are here – if you see someone looking far too smug for having an ABBA Voyage T -Shirt, it’s probably me. 

I know I’m not the only one who feels a newfound sense of purpose and calm since coming to university, and though when exams roll around, I may be reading this and lamenting how quickly that feeling left me. For now at least I’m happy that Exeter has been such a wonderful experience. I think the key is allowing yourself to grow and mature, and realising that it doesn’t mean you’re faking or changing yourself, you’re simply letting this new facet of your personality come to the surface. 

My name is Emily and I'm a first year student studying History and Spanish.