Anja Schoen considers the beauty of fresh starts for everyone from Freshers to Magistrands.
Every year come September, students up and down the country come back from their summer breaks to start the new academic term. For some, it may be the first time at university; for others it might just be a new year in the same place – and still others are starting off anew from another country.
But no matter what the circumstances are, it is a fresh start for everyone. And with new beginnings come feelings of excitement about new experiences, new people, new places…and then there might also be a twinge of anxiety regarding the unknown.
This form of ‘stage fright’ affects all of us to a certain degree, although the more we have already settled into a place, the less nervous (both in the positive and negative sense) we are in September.
If we are starting somewhere as of yet unknown to us, the excitement which we have about new experiences can also help us calm any kind of anxiety we may feel. As the German poet Hermann Hesse puts it in his most famous poem “Steps” (1941), ‘a magic dwells in each beginning that protects us and helps us live.’
In light of that ‘magic’, those who are arriving for the first time this September have the privilege of marvelling at pretty university buildings, experiencing that first awkward encounter with a new flatmate, and getting lost on the way to their first lecture. In order to really enjoy such new beginnings we must be open-minded and take things as they come.
Even if it’s not our first time back after summer, we can recapture some of that ‘fresh-start-feeling’ by doing things differently in the coming year: go and join new societies or sports clubs, explore something in the area we always meant to see, or get involved in volunteering activities.
After all, it’s important to have these small kinds of new beginnings and changes in our lives. They broaden our horizons and thereby make us not only discover new things outside of ourselves – such as new people and new places – but also things about ourselves. We learn how we react to new situations and how we behave outside of our comfort zone. Therefore, it can be a valuable experience for all of us to embrace some of the ‘magic’ of new beginnings this academic year.
*The content of Perspective articles, as with all articles posted on the Tribe, reflects solely the views of the authors. The opinions expressed are not those of the Tribe as a publication or necessarily those of any other member of the editorial and/or writing staff*