Over One Year ago, I went to University. What have I learned?


I started University  over one year ago now, and I have to say that my life has changed in a lot of areas. The Ben Attwood of now is not the same Ben Attwood from this time last year. The Ben Attwood from that point in time was nervous, anxious, pretty lonely, and getting used to a new normal. The Ben Attwood of today is very different, and I will tell you why.

I should stress that getting into University is one of the hardest things you will have to get used to in life. Look at it from my perspective. A boy from a largely urbanised village, who had been in the same place for 7 years with largely the same people, occasionally a few would go off but I’d still hear from them, is flung into a new environment, with new rules, new responsibilities, and a completely new set of people to associate myself with. I did try to avoid that by creating a new friendship group in my first choice university of Liverpool. Didn’t get in there.

First lesson: Never plan a new life for yourself. Those circumstances are set to change, are not set in stone, and things will change. 

Getting into Edge Hill made me happy,  but I was bitter. I was dealing with a lot of demons then. Anxiety, stress, family stuff, a new life. I was a dick to family, I was probably a dick to friends too. I was mad at those who got into the University of Liverpool. I was very bitter, a little elitist towards my new peers, and the likes. That point in my life I was bitter at a lot of things and wasn’t a good person to know then.

Second Lesson: Don’t blame or hurt others because you blame and hurt yourself.

Over time, you do get used to your new environment, and your new cohorts, and all that good stuff. University wasn’t a place of resentment for too long. It became to myself a place of opportunity. I saw gaps, I tried to fill them. I met people, made a new friendship network. I grew more confident here over the year and a bit I’ve been here, specifically since I got help for my personal demons.

Third Lesson: Take as many opportunities that come your way as soon as you see them. As long as they don’t interfere with your studies.

I took a lot of opportunities, and now I am in second year, I have already began to foster a reputation that I can say I am proud of. I formed a Politics society with 3 of my peers/friends, and we consistently have good debates with our members from around the country. I am the Politics Rep for my group, and I am trying to become a Society rep as well. I have ran twice for Disabled Students Officer, coming second both times in my first year. And I now have a radio show in the University.

In short, the Ben Attwood of last year did not realise that coming here would offer him so much opportunity to do stuff. If I did go to Liverpool, would I have kept the friends I made? Would I have had those opportunities I hold dear? Would I have formed my Politics Society? No. I wouldn’t have. When I found out one of my friends who I regarded as someone to aspire to be leave the University, I was stunned, and I came to the conclusion I wasn’t right to be mad at Edge Hill. I like it there, and it’s a place for me to build a future. Lets see what elese is in store for me there…

About the author


Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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