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When we graduated from year 7 into year 8, it was imbued in us that we were above the incoming year. They were still children, yet to learn the delicacies of high school life. We were higher up on the social ladder than them, finally no longer clueless and in our own minds somehow wiser. We looked down on those little year seveners with a combination of scorn and misplaced pride. Throughout high school, the year below wasn’t of much concern, yet the sense of superiority never left. We were better than they, and they had no idea of what was in front of them.

Going into my second year of uni, my sentiment towards the new first years has changed from that smugness I felt in year eight. I do feel a tad wiser, and I have a little knowledge on my side, but overall I don’t feel too different from those wide-eyed newbies walking through the front gates for the first time. A lot of them are my age, or even older, and I have quite some respect for their survival (and success) against the HSC.

I think the difference is now, instead of feeling excitement in the face of the entirely new and unknown, I feel a longing for what I know and love at uni. The good coffee, the lawns, the lying around with friends, and even catching up on some readings alone in a patch of shade. I think most of all I miss the things I’m learning and that anticipatory excitement of uncovering new ground. (Notice: I did not mention assignments OR exams).

During summer I’ve driven past the deserted campus and it looks entirely unnatural. I have to say I can hardly wait to see it swarming with people again. From the pyjama-clad college kids to the fashionable hipsters and now the group I belong to: the comfort conscious remainder of the uni’s population.

So, I’ll be nice to them, I promise. I’ll point their little heads in the right direction when they’re lost. I’ll smile at the memory of being in their shoes when they take a hidden glance at their tiny map. O week will be filled with new faces, and instead of viewing them with arrogance, I’ll try to see them as potential new friends.

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Everything you ever wanted to know about uni but were too afraid to ask....