Diary of a Student: The Halfway Mark
Having completed one half of her Creating Writing degree, Adriana reflects on what she's learned so far.
Not that long ago, I took the first shaky steps into the mysterious land of university. It was especially enigmatic to me as an international student, and I couldn’t even begin to fathom what it would be like away from everyone I know, away from every ounce of familiarity I had.
I was reluctant to participate in anything at first, because I was overcome by homesickness and was ready to go home after the first year meeting. Thankfully, the support systems in place prevented me from making – what I know now would have been – the biggest mistake of my life. So i stayed.
My next contact with university life was the infamous ‘fresher’s flu’, which funnily enough is how I got to know my first new friend: we bonded over our mutual suffering and shared a pack of Kleenex.
It didn’t take long (about a week) for me to find the ground beneath my feet and start racing towards a very exciting future.
What followed are perhaps some of the best experiences I’ve had so far, whether it’s meeting new people, working on strange but equally exciting projects, or exploring the beautiful nooks of the Cornish coastline.
This leads to the first thing I learned in the last year and a half: always give things a proper chance before deciding they’re not for you. If I’d listened to my irrational, fear-drowned self and returned home, I wouldn’t have had the chance to see how wonderful university can actually be.
I also learned a lot about the creative industry and the people within it. Working on extracurricular activities definitely improved my experience tenfold. I got to meet so many talented people with lots to teach me and I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside leading experts in the field.
I’ve also leaner to accept that everyone is brilliant in their own way, and the world never runs out of ways to surprise you. Although everyone is on the same course, they all bring something new and exciting to the table.
Being in an academic environment also taught me that you will never be able to accurately judge your own work. I wrote my first poem in my first year and thought it was ridiculous. If you’d told me at that point that a year later I'd be performing my work in public, and that people would be enjoying it, I would have told you you’re crazy.
But that happened. I performed alongside Apples and Snakes, making people laugh and hearing them cheer me on. (It may not have been an amazing poem, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought.)
University taught me that failure is inevitable. But perhaps the most important piece of knowledge I’ve acquired is that you should never give up on account of failure. Failure means a lesson learned; it means you’re improving, and that the time to get fired up is just now beginning.
by Adriana Ciontea