A letter to my first year self

Dear First Year Rachel,

I would like to thank you for making this decision. It’s incredibly hard to move over 400km and four hours away from your home, family, job—everything you know to study at university, in a city that you have only visited twice. I am very happy to tell you that your decision has led to the best (almost) five years of your life.

You will live at Campus East in your first and second years. You will live in a flexi-catered unit with three men and another woman in your first year. They will be the best flatmates you will ever have. On your very first day in Wollongong you will meet your flatmates as well as the friends who will become your best friends and second family.

You will learn the hard way after being left with almost no money and I mean that literally, that Centrelink likes to take their time with helping people. You will learn that you are surprisingly good at living off $300-$400 per fortnight and you will learn to love every second Friday.

Your second year will be the hardest year of your life. About a month into the academic year, a good friend will die and that will affect everyone around you. I’m not going to tell you who it is, it’s better that you don’t know. A few weeks later Pop Loveday will die, you weren’t close to him but you will still find it sad. Despite how hard this year will be, you will get through it and pass your subjects with flying colours.

Your third year will be slightly better than your second. You will enjoy living a new accommodation where you don’t have to deal with flatmates, you will have your own space and the facilities are better. You will lose Pop in the middle of the year but you will finish your Creative Arts degree, passing with flying colours and proud of the mini-thesis you will write. Essays aren’t your strong point but you will enjoy researching as you love dissecting the work of fellow writers, perhaps this can inspired for possible postgraduate study?

Your fourth year will be the best year of your life. You will meet a wonderful man who will treat you with respect and you will have a mostly happy relationship that will last six months. Your writing career will finally take off—you will have over 20 pieces of writing published in three countries. You will also get your first writing job with a marketing company by accident, which will lead you to set up your own writing business.

At the start of your fifth year you will feel tired, burnt out and sometimes unmotivated because you feel the same way you did in year 12—the end is so close, yet so far. That being said you will be proud of yourself for getting here.

I can’t tell you what your final session will be like or what your future beyond uni will hold as I haven’t gotten there yet. However I’m looking forward to the next chapter in life.

My advice to you from my years of experience is to enjoy every moment. Five years may feel like forever, but it goes by incredibly fast.

See you in four years.


Your friend.

Fifth (and final) Year Rachel.


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