Thursday, 4 June 2015

This Much I Know...University

At the ripe old age of 21, I am often mistaken for a 16 year old though I am told I will appreciate this more in 20 years or so. Regardless, I clearly have a lot to learn though I can hopefully shed a bit of light on some situations that I have had the pleasure of enduring. So I have decided to inundate you with this golden wisdom, my lovely friends, in a (hopefully) useful and amusing series 'This Much I Know'.

Graduating university and not being in secure full time employment means I have a lot of time on my hands and, during this time, between shifts and endless LinkedIn stalking, I have been contemplating what exactly I have learnt from my three years at University and here is what I have come up with:

1. Your halls will most likely be horrendous, I mean really prison style lodgings, but always remember it is less than a year you have to spend in that intolerable dump, and the money you save by staying in cheaper accommodation can be spent on frivolous purchases from the reduced sections from your local supermarkets.

2. On that note, take advantage of these reduced sections. In my last couple of weeks I would head to the local Tesco Express around 8ish and come home with my dinner (usually amounting to about 50p) as well as reduced scones or cream cakes to score points with my flatmates after avoiding my share of the washing up for two weeks. So learn to cut back and budget because although that massive overdraft may be drawing you to the nearest H&M, you will regret it in a few years when you are at the bottom of the pit with no ladder but a fabulous breton jumper.

3. Living with 4 boys does not make you Jess from New Girl. I learnt this the hard way. Your days will not be filled with shenanigans and hilarious episodes of the Douchbag Jar, but instead, a lot of crates of beer, smelly rooms and little to no chance of tearing the boys away from FIFA so you can watch Escape to the Country with a family pack of chocolate bourbons. Having said this, I enjoyed this year immensely, our house was beautiful and I got on really well with the people I lived with whilst we were in that house. That's the main point I think: you may be best friends with them at university but it doesn't mean you can live with them - some people will drive you up the wall so choose wisely.

4. You're not a weirdo for staying in/doing work/generally being a hermit. "First year doesn't count so why bother", "You never come out" etc. etc. Well I can tell you, the work ethic I developed in first year stayed with me throughout my three years and lacking the desire to spend every night in a drunken heap on the floor of the stickiest nightclub you can find does not make you a bad student. This is YOUR experience and YOU decide what 'student life' is for you, because it differs and choosing work over play every so often so that you get that grade you desperately want does not make you a loser.

5. Having said this, set some boundaries between work and rest so you are not driving yourself to exhaustion, A lot of people I know would, like me, work 9-5 in the library during revision and hand-in periods and then spend the evening at home relaxing. The mistakes I made in the first and second year were that I would often work all day and then bring the work home and thus my bedroom/living room/general accommodation was associated with work and stress and I was a bit overwhelmed by it all. Believe me, after a long day in the library your student house, however grotty it may be, will look like Buckingham Palace and you will appreciate it a hell of a lot more.
Not taking my own advice and working from home...

6. You probably won't know what you want to do by the time you come to graduating. I know I don't, but I said YES to work placement and volunteering opportunities and through trial and error, I am slowly coming to conclusions about what it is I want to do. It's okay if you don't have a 5 year plan, I read recently that people are likely to change their career path 3 times in their lifetime so don't worry if you don't have it all figured out yet - it's your 20's and they're meant for making mistakes and figuring things out.

I hope this has enlightened those of you who are hoping to start university in September as timid freshers, you will be fine, make sure to call your family once in a while and yes, third year is as stressful as they say but the finish line will be completely worth it!

Good Luck & Good Day,


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