As of last week I have officially finished university. It has gone so quickly and it only seems like yesterday that I was writing up my tips for moving to uni posts but it's been a whole three years. My time at university has been a whole bundle of emotions and not really what I expected it at all. What I can say though is I have learnt a lot and not just academically, though I have developed and achieved a lot in that area too. As uni was coming to an end, I found myself thinking about my university experience a lot more and realising how much I have developed. I have compiled my top 10 things that I have learnt at university of the past three years.
1. University is hard. I am just going to put this out there right away - university is hard
academically, emotionally and physically. Teachers always told me that A-Levels are the hardest part of your academic career but they are so wrong because at uni you have the added pressures of that little thing called adulthood. Revising and studying was so much easier when your Mom did all your cooking, cleaning and washing for you but at university you have to factor in time to do all of these utterly mundane tasks and that sucks.
2. Bristol is wicked. Before moving to Bristol, I hadn't spent that much time in any city centre other than the occasional shopping trip to Manchester and visiting my sister in Chester. However, when moving from a little town in the north to big ole Bristol, I realised that I am much more of a city person. I hit luck with Bristol, it's not too big or too small and there's always plenty going on, particularly free stuff which is perfect for us poor students.
3. Self-Care is Important. This might be something that goes more with moving away from home/living on your own but that was a vital part of my university experience. When you live on your own or with a few housemates that you don't know that well, as I did in first year, it's easy to get caught up adulting or doing uni work and you can start to feel a bit down if you don't set aside some time for self care. I learnt this in first year and realised that it's ok to take breaks and relax. In fact, it will be beneficial to the other aspects of your life and it means that after your break, you can focus on important tasks and give them 100% and not just slugging through them feeling miserable.
4. It's hard to make friends. When you go to university, if you don't go to the same cities as your high school BFFs then you need to make new friends but I don't think anybody realises how hard that is. I'd had the same friends for years and years and then forgot completely how to interact with newbies.
5. You can't get along with everyone. This relates to the previous point, I think it's easy to presume that you can get along with everyone because you are a nice person etc etc. However nice you are you cannot get along with everyone and there are people out there that for whatever reason you will not fit with but don't take that to heart, just see it as a learning curve. It will teach you what you look for in a friend/acquaintance, help you learn from your mistakes and develop you as a person. Don't worry about it.
6. People will mock you for EVERYTHING. This is not to say you will be bullied but what I mean is the friends you make will be so confused by your weird regional traits that you never paid any attention to and they will mock you. My friends did not understand why I called secondary school 'high school' and mum as 'mom' to which you just have to respond "I'm from [the north/south etc.]" and be done with it.
7. There really is a north/south divide. You will spend much time arguing over where the north is and where the south is which of these categories the Midlands fits into (to which I say neither as it's in the middle hence the name). This will ruin friendships from day one. Be warned.
8. Adulting is hard. Sometimes you just don't want to do a food shop or cook. Sometimes you just don't want to do your washing but it has to be done. It's okay to put it off and strop about being hungry and having no clothes because adulting is hard and that needs to be recognised more. However when you need to study, adulting will be used as a means of productive procrastination.
9. I don't know what I'm doing but that's ok. We are pressured from an early age to aspire to a career and make choices that will determine our future and choosing a degree is one of those choices. You are investing thousands of pounds into gaining the qualifications that will effectively determine the rest of your life. I had no career goal in mind, other than perhaps teaching. I just went with what I liked and studied history and it's fuelled my passion even more. However, I have left uni and I'm on the hunt for a job with wide aspirations and no direct focus and that is okay and most graduates are doing the same. If I work in retail for a little while whilst I figure things out, that's cool too. We all still have time to figure this stuff out.
10. University is wicked. University is one of the first steps to being an adult for many people and of course that is going shape who you are. I have had so many life experiences in the past three years from a relationship, fall outs, injuries and entering the world of work. It has allowed me to develop myself as a person and become so much more confident in who I am and what I do. Of course I am not saying you need university to do this but it has given me the push I needed to become independent and a better person.
Did you go to uni? What did you learn from your experience? Do you also hate adulting, cos I sure do.
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