The first semester of uni can create a mixture of feelings. There’s sadness at leaving behind what you love and know, but also the excitement of starting something new and being independent.
I have some great memories from those first few months of uni. Evenings in the student bars when I probably should have been studying. Meeting the people who are still my best friends to this day. Discovering the joy of my mum not knowing my every move. Going to the lectures that would shape my future. However, there are also a few moments I’d rather forget…
Lecture halls are big. Really big. So big that they emphasise any moment that might be slightly embarrassing and turn it into a “Please ground, swallow me now” moment. That’s what happened to me. No, I didn’t have to sneak into a lecture because I was super hungover and didn’t get much sleep because I met a really hot rugby player at the sports social – I wish. I was actually already sitting in the middle of the lecture hall and had begun chatting to the guy next to me when I felt it.
There was that familiar twinge in the very base of my tummy which spread into cramp, then that sensation – you know the trickling one? The one that makes you and think “Uhh ohh. I need to find a bathroom and a tampon ASAP.” Yeah. Thank you period. Here I am, in the middle of this massive lecture theatre, surrounded by potential new friends, that I’m now going to have to squeeze past to run to the loo, worrying that I’ve bled through onto my dress. Embarrassing. Or, I could wait until the end of the lecture and risk staining the seat, also not a great option.
I’m not the only one who had an awkward moment with my period at the start of uni. My friend Jess also had a bit of a situation on a night out. We’d spent a while doing our makeup and getting ready, she was expecting her period to come so grabbed a handful of tampons on her way out of the door:
“We’d been queuing for the club for about 10 minutes,” Jess recalls. “We’d all been talking about how fit the bouncer was and when we got to the front of the queue, I was doing my best to catch his eye and flirt. He seemed to be flirting back and asked to check my bag, but when he opened it my tampons fell out all over the floor. Awkward. I didn’t leave with his number.”
Periods. Ruining romantic moments since you hit puberty. By the time you’re in your 20s they’re a part of life that you just get on with. But no matter how many tampons you have stocked in your bag for emergencies, there are always those moments where you think “Why now?”