I said goodbye to my boyfriend the night before I left for uni; we had a Chinese and he fell asleep at 10pm because we’d both eaten way too much.

My Dad had packed up most of the car already, we were going to set off around 9am to miss the traffic. I remember the nervous butterflies mixed with excitement in the car as we made our way on the M61 towards Sheffield.

I remember my AS level English lit teacher telling me how if we worked hard for these two years, that first year of uni would more than make up for it – after all, I only needed 40% to pass in my first year.

I remember as I got there, one of my housemates had already arrived and his Mum was not going to leave him anytime soon – I could tell. My Dad, being the incredibly practical man he is – efficiently unpacked my room with me and then took me to the nearest shop so we could get a few basics. We said our goodbyes, and there I was in my room – not knowing how to approach people, secretly hoping that they’d say hi to me first.

I did the classic thing of opening my door with a doorstop and tried to make it look like I wasn’t just waiting for people to come past.

Eventually, we all awkwardly made our way into the kitchen and swapped where we’d come from, what course we were studying and what we were going to do that night. The classic questions that you asked everyone you met at uni for the next 6 months.

One of our housemates, Pete, hadn’t got the memo that we’d all bought beach party tickets to the on campus bar that night. We awkwardly got drunk, exchanged ,I have never, stories and slowly friendships blossomed from there.

7 years later, I look back on my memories of uni so fondly, every time I meet with my housemates – we can’t help but exchange nostalgic stories (many of which have appeared or will appear in an edition of ‘the tragic life of Lauren Gillett’.

However, it’s interesting to think how much we grew up over those 7 years. You think of growing up through your childhood, but the real growing comes when your parents aren’t there. When you just kinda hope that it’ll just work itself out or you just exude confidence to fool everyone else that you know what you’re doing.

Apparently, 7 years is the amount of time it takes to know someone before you become friends for life. I don’t know if that’s true or just a bullshit myth but I know I’ve got a handful of friends from uni who know me better than most – warts and all!

From everyone here at Stop The World, good luck to those of you going to uni this week. I’m guessing most of you will be waking up this morning to one of the worst hangovers you’ve had in a long time.

Make the most of the next 3-4 years because they’ll be the best years you’ll experience alongside of people who will become life long friends.

You’ve got this!

Love always,

Lauren & the Stop The World team x