To be fair, we're well into semester 2 now, but looking back doesn't hurt. And, I haven't even received all my grades anyway.
The first semester is made out to be a magical (almost mystical) thing. You become independent, get to know like-minded people, have fun at parties, etc.
With the pandemic still throwing a fit, every student knew things would be different.
No big raves or parties, less (or in actuality no) lectures, no freshers week, no library sessions with friends. Personally, I didn't mind at first. I don't even like huge parties, anyway. Looking back, it would have been nice to get out of my comfort zone and make new memories.
I did gain new experiences, just not as many as you would think. For example, I moved out of the Netherlands to Edinburgh (with help, to be honest). It was interesting living alone, well, with 4 flatmates but still. There were days I didn't see them, as our rooms connect to one corridor and our schedules just didn't meet up some days. I can't complain about the flatmates I got, so that's a blessing.
I just wish I made more friends. Sure, I met a couple of nice people through group chats, Instagram and my course. But the connections I made were sparse and we didn't connect too much. The closest friends I made, will leave next year.
Maybe I'm just complaining. I don't know, because I don't know what the 'typical' first-semester experience is. I can't compare it to anything. I'm content with the experience I had, it was just different from what I expected.
I'm happy with my grades so far, they're not perfect but I didn't have many assignments to complete anyway. The course is... interesting? I'm not enjoying it as much as I would have thought. I'm putting the blame for that on the online learning experience. It is just boring to watch a lecture without the ability to interact (face-to-face). I wish I could say that it was really enjoyable and engaging. It is just not. That's not anyone's fault, by the way.
So, my first semester was mediocre. Good moments for sure, but overall mostly disappointing.
I'm not sure this one will be better, since we can't return until march (probably).
I'm happy to be home, with my cats, but of course, I would want the freedom of life as a student. In the lockdown situation of Edi, I'm not sure life would be freer than it is now. I'm sure it would include fewer cats, though.