With this focus on first year students at university, I keep hearing them being told that it should be "the time of their lives". My first year in higher education was certainly no such thing - i was a bit lonely, lacking in confidence, a bit disorientated, not sure of which was my "tribe" and my college was pretty ropey anyway - a lot of poor teaching as I look back. I was more free than I had ever been which was a good thing and I wasn't unhappy but it wasn't easy. To be quite honest, I'm happier now, at 69, than at some other parts of my life but I also have happy memories of the years when the boys were small and i was a stay at home mum. At every stage I have broadly been happy, although work interfered in a negative way more than once.