This is an honest and personal account of my experience of the first semester of University.
Throughout my late high school years, friends and family would continually tell me not to worry about university, as it would be much more rewarding and enjoyable than high school. In many ways this is true, in my first semester of studying a double degree of Arts and Social Work at the University of Sydney, I was blessed with a pretty fantastic timetable. My classes began at 10am and finally I was free from the dreaded 6:30am wake ups! Another positive I found was that in university you are (or hopefully) studying what interests you and thus you are surrounded by like-minded individuals. Despite this, I eventually lost interest for two of my subjects, however this is all a part of the process, discovering what you do and do not enjoy which in turn shapes your future career path.
Now, what no one really wants to tell you is that you can become quite lonely at university, being invisible in many ways.
It seems that living in a college on campus does make it easier to meet people and make friends as you are constantly surrounded by students and in many cases, even sharing a room with them. From my experience, it is very difficult to make friends at university as while there may be that person that you have created a strange bond with simply due to the fact that you sat next to them the first day of tutorials and thus sit with them the following weeks, everyone has different timetables and schedules. You may only see these people from your tutorial once a week, twice a week if you attend lectures!
While everyone suggests that you join as many societies as possible in order to meet others with similar interests, many of my society meetings clashed with my classes and any spare time I had was entirely devoted to catching up on class work. In terms of the workload at university, it is completely different to what was expected of me in Year 12 and thus I found it quite difficult to adapt. However, this feeling passed in the first few weeks as I found a rhythm, and my advice is that you will either find a method or it will find you, so do not panic.
Overall, my main point is that university will become easier as time passes. I am enjoying my second semester in which I am studying two gender and cultural studies subjects, Anthropology (which I highly recommend) and unfortunately continuing the excruciatingly dry Sociology. Making friends will become easier as you will find your personal balance, finding yourself in a much more happier state of mind. To those Year 12s reading this, I only wish you the very best of luck and while everything around you may be going a hundred miles per hour, take a minute and breathe, find your own pace and remember that your wellbeing comes first!