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I’m Starting Third Year and I Still Feel Like A Fresher

I think we can all agree that the last three years of university have been unlike anything we imagined at the time of applying. I certainly imagined that by the time I was entering my third year I would feel confident on campus, be part of lots of societies and feel ready and settled for the busy year ahead. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I am not entering third year feeling confident. In fact I’m incredibly nervous, because for the first time ever in my university career I am not completing the year from the comfort of my bedroom, I am finally going onto campus. Hopefully this article will make you feel less alone and offer you advice on how to combat the anxiety if you too are struggling with the concept of university returning back to ‘normal’ – a normal we have been yet to experience.

Feeling like a Fresher

The phrase ‘fish out of water’ springs to mind when I imagine myself on campus frantically searching for lecture rooms, having to ask people where buildings are and how I get there. This is something I never thought I’d be experiencing when going into my final year at university; it’s something I was supposed to be worried about in first year. Naturally, I feel just as experienced as the first years, which is somewhat intimidating.


What I have experienced most is the feeling of jealousy towards freshers getting to experience a university life I never really will. I will never know what it’s like to attend a freshers’ fair or walk to campus with my new flatmates, attending lectures together for the first time. It is hard to accept that my full university experience will ultimately only last a year and it is difficult watching others get the experience I have always wished for.

The Change of Lifestyle

Going to campus every day is a complete lifestyle change. Up until now, the only things I have had to juggle have been from the safety of my house on my laptop. This is the first year that I will be balancing my social and work life alongside going onto campus and finding myself frequently busier. This can feel quite overwhelming as it is such a big change so late in my university career.

Worries About Grades

Naturally, I am worried that I may not be able to keep up with this new form of teaching: I have never sat in a lecture hall or had to keep up with the fast pace of a lecture, I have always had the option to slow it down or start it again on my computer. I imagine that many of us will be concerned about our ability to adapt to this new style of learning, particularly when third year is such an important year for our degree classification.

So what am I doing to handle all of these concerns?

Talk to People

Whether that’s friends, family or members of staff at the university, I have found the best way to overcome my anxiety is by speaking to others. It forces me to rationalise my worries and helps me realise that I am not alone in the way I am feeling.

Letting Go

It’s natural to hold a bit of resentment for the lack of the university experience we have had. However, I am actively trying to let go of these feelings and accept the situation. I cannot change the past, all I can do is focus on the present. For that reason, I am trying to focus on finding the positives and trying my best to immerse myself fully in the experience – I know I will only regret it in the future if I don’t.

Giving Myself Time

I think the best thing I can do is give myself time to adjust. It is daunting starting third year still feeling like a fresher but I know that will change with time. With every seminar, every lecture and every social interaction on campus, I will continue to settle in and feel part of the community. 

A massive good luck to all new and returning students – we have all faced a crazy few years and it truly does feel like now we are able to enjoy some normality. I hope my fellow final year students have the best year of their university life so far, I truly think we deserve it!

Written by: Molly Bates

Edited by: Chloe Hill

Hi! I'm Molly a history and philosophy student at the University of Leeds.
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